Rashida Jones, a senior VP at NBC News and MSNBC, will become president of the cable news network, effective Feb. 1.
Jones will succeed Phil Griffin, who has been at the channel for 25 years and became president in 2008.
The moves were announced by Cesar Conde, who moved from NBCU’s Telemundo to head the NBCUniversal News Group earlier this year.
Conde had announced a goal of making the staff of NBC News to be 50% women and 50% people of color.
The move also comes after a wild presidential election that drove up cable news ratings and revenue.
"Rashida knows and understands MSNBC, in part because it's where she started when she first joined NBCU seven years ago," Conde said in an email to news staffers. "She knows that it is the people who work here that make it great, and she understands its culture. She also appreciates the impact and potential of the brand."
In his own memo to staff, Griffin said that after the election he’d told Conde and NBCU CEO Jeff Shell that it was time to hang them up.
“I admire the commitment, the camaraderie, the scrappiness, the pure love everyone has for this place. MSNBC is about humanity. The creativity, the compassion, the fact you all care so much. And that is what I will miss the most,” he said.
"At MSNBC, Phil has built something remarkable," Conde wrote. "He leaves the network in the best shape it has ever been.”
“We congratulate Rashida Jones for making history as the first Black woman to run a major TV news operation," said Bridgett Todd, communications director of women's advocacy group UltraViolet. "It’s clear that Jones’ experience at NBC as an executive, former managing editor and producer has prepared her well to take on this role. Having a Black woman run a major TV news operation is an important first step in advancing the voices and concerns of Black women in America. This is an important moment for cable news TV and an encouraging sign that MSNBC is continuing to recognize the important role that Black women play in our national discourse."
Broadcasting & Cable Newsletter
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below
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.