Ford Leaving Position at Nonfiction Producers Group

Veteran network programming executive John Ford is stepping down as general manager of NPact, a trade organization serving producers of non-fiction entertainment content.

The move is the result of the sale of Justice Network and Quest to Tegna for $77 million in May. Ford has been head of programming for the multicast networks since they were launched in 2015. Under Tegna, the networks are expected to hire producers to create original programming for the first time. That creates a conflict with Ford’s role at the association.

NPact said that Michelle Van Kempen, the group’s head of policy and development, will become interim general manager. A search for a permanent replacement is underway.

“John has been a peerless leader, helping transform a nascent organization with big dreams – and many strong, rowdy opinions – into a mature powerhouse association,” the NPact executive committee said in a statement.

“With some exciting opportunities on the horizon, John made the difficult decision to step down; he has our immense gratitude and best wishes for the future. During the transition, we know NPact will be in great hands with Michelle Van Kempen whose contributions have encompassed not just outreach to the community and expanding our membership, but creating opportunities and access to innovative companies and services from which we all benefit,” the statement said.

Ford, previously head of programming for Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel, became head of the Nonfiction Producers Association in 2015. It merged with PactUS, another producers organization, in 2017, creating NPact.

“The challenges of independent production are unrelenting, and to see the fellowship among NPact members is truly humbling. I couldn’t be prouder of my time with NPact and know Michelle and the team will continue moving the association forward with great energy and innovation,” Ford said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.