An openly disappointed chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors confirmed on Wednesday that Andy Lack is leaving the board's brand-new CEO post.
Lack is returning to NBC News, where he was president between 1993 and 2001. An announcement from NBC is expected imminently.
The change is a head-spinning one for workers at the Broadcasting Board of Governors since Lack had just arrived in January. The board is a federal agency that oversees all of the United States government's media operations, like Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and TV Marti.
The board has been under pressure to reform itself, and Lack's appointment -- as its first-ever CEO, consolidating authority in an entrenched bureaucracy -- was seen as a step in the right direction.
Lack, who was most recently the chairman of Bloomberg Media Group, was wooed by the Broadcasting Board of Governors last year. When Lack accepted the BBG position, board chairman Jeff Shell said Lack was the right pick because "he has successfully steered large organizations through changes in competitive media environments."
The NBC opportunity arose recently, however, and Shell made no secret of his anger and disappointment at a staff meeting on Wednesday. Shell called Lack's departure a huge blow to the organization, according to notes from one of the attendees, and said he'd tried to persuade Lack not to leave.
The board still wants to have a single person in charge, so it is beginning a search for a new CEO. Andre Mendes, the agency's director of global operations, will be the acting CEO.
Shell said at the staff meeting that he believed the successful recruitment of Lack will make the CEO search easier this time.
Lack's arrival had been felt right away at the board's headquarters in Washington. Former CNN correspondent David Ensor, who has been in charge of Voice of America since 2011, had to "vacate the corner office VOA directors have occupied for decades with its fine view of Independence Avenue and, we're told, up to the Capitol," according to The Washington Post, which took note of the office space drama.
"Of course, this will require patching holes, painting walls, etc. Unclear whether it will boost the viewership of TV Marti," The Post's Al Kamen quipped.
At the VOA on Wednesday, one staffer replied-all to an email thread about Lack's exit and asked, "Does this mean David Ensor gets to move back into his office?"