NPR’s chief executive, John Lansing, said on Tuesday that he would retire at the end of the year, ending a rocky four years atop the public broadcaster.

In an email to the staff on Tuesday, Mr. Lansing said that he had informed the board of his decision in May, and that NPR was now in the early stages of a national search for his successor. He said that he had made the decision to retire after discussions with his wife, Jean.

“Having begun my career as a studio technician in 1975, and having since had the privilege of working with some of the most iconic organizations in American media, the timing feels right to me, and we are looking forward to it as a family,” he wrote.

A veteran media executive, Mr. Lansing joined NPR as its chief executive in 2019 after running the U.S. Agency for Global Media. During his tenure, NPR faced serious financial difficulties, some of them brought on by the pandemic. In early in 2020, executives including Mr. Lansing took pay cuts to help with budget gaps. In February of this year, NPR laid off 10 percent of its staff, more than 100 people, to make up for a $30 million budget shortfall that Mr. Lansing attributed to slowing advertising revenue and fewer corporate sponsorships.

NPR was also at the center of questions about how it treated people from diverse backgrounds after a number of its high-profile hosts who were women of color, including Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Noel King and Audie Cornish, left the broadcaster.

In a news release on Tuesday, NPR said that under Mr. Lansing’s leadership, more than 40 percent of NPR’s executive team now included people of color, up from 9 percent in 2019, while 42 percent of the broadcaster’s work force identified as people of color, up from 33 percent in 2019. During Mr. Lansing’s tenure, NPR won more than 90 awards for its journalism, including its first Pulitzer Prize award in 2021.

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