Al Jazeera America Interviews Finalists For President Role

By Alex Weprin 

Al Jazeera America is closing in on finding its president.

Last week, Ehab Al Shihabi (pictured left), the executive director of international operations for Al Jazeera and the senior executive in charge of developing Al Jazeera America, was in New York City, where he interviewed the final candidates for the leadership role, TVNewser has learned.

Those interviews are likely one of the last hurdles before the channel decided who its new chief executive should be. Among the candidates said to be under consideration: former CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein, former CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker and former ABC News chief David Westin. We haven’t heard of any new names surfacing recently, though if you have, drop us a line.

Al Jazeera America is still on track to launch later this year, though an exact launch date is unclear. But that has not stopped the network from staffing up. Among the recent hires: CNN’s Ali Velshi, NBC’s Mike Viqueira and just today, investigative journalist Josh Bernstein.

Al Jazeera acquired Current TV at the beginning of the year, with the goal of taking Current’s channel space and launching a new 24-hour cable channel under the Al Jazeera brand name. Unlike the upcoming ABC/Univision cable channel Fusion, Al Jazeera America does not have the might of two existing industry power players behind it, though it certainly has plenty of funding.