The Center for Investigative Reporting announced today that Kaizar Campwala has been named CEO by its Board of Directors. Campwala has a long record of helping great journalism and media organizations thrive. He has distinguished himself as an innovator and leader across both the nonprofit and corporate media landscape, with deep experience in managing public interest news, audio and video journalism. He joins CIR from the Walt Disney Co., where he oversaw ABC News’ digital and streaming news businesses, including ABC News Live, and expanded the news vertical on Hulu. He will start Jan. 10.
The organization has also appointed Sumi Aggarwal as editor in chief. She has been serving in the role in an interim capacity since March 2021.
CIR Board Chair Robert King said: “I’m honored to welcome Kaizar to CIR. He is an innovative, forward-thinking leader with the business experience to lead CIR’s next chapter, building on our legacy of impactful storytelling. Kaizar has a strong leadership team in place, made stronger with Sumi’s appointment as editor in chief.”
Campwala had served as vice president of business operations at the Walt Disney Co. since 2019. He co-founded and served as president of CALmatters, a statehouse reporting venture in Sacramento, California; led Stitcher’s business development team during the podcast company’s formative years; and was entrepreneur-in-residence at Al Jazeera, where he launched the company’s podcasting arm. He is active in supporting the broader journalism ecosystem, also serving on the Board of Directors of Internews. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and an MBA from UCLA.
Campwala said: “I couldn’t be more excited to join CIR, an organization with a record of world-class investigative reporting and a culture of driving change through collaboration and innovation. I’m looking forward to working with the talented team and our local and national partners to ensure accountability journalism flourishes in the emerging media landscape.”
Annie Chabel, who has served as CIR’s interim CEO since May, resumes her position as COO and will work alongside Campwala in the organization’s next chapter. “I’m so excited that Kaizar is joining CIR,” Chabel said. “He brings the skills and expertise to expand on our legacy of innovation and excellence in journalism. And I’m honored to appoint Sumi Aggarwal as our editor in chief. Sumi has shown tremendous vision and has overseen some of the most ambitious projects in our history over the last year.”
Chabel and Aggarwal will report to Campwala.
“It is an honor to be appointed the editor in chief of CIR,” Aggarwal said. “Our reporting has consistently had a meaningful impact over our 45-year history, and I am eager to build on that legacy. I believe our team of reporters and producers is the best and most dedicated in the industry. And I am thrilled to partner with Kaizar and Annie as we embark on our next chapter.”
Aggarwal is a veteran journalist who spent nearly a decade producing award-winning investigations for “60 Minutes,” including a deep dive into a 50-year-old civil rights-era murder, an investigation into a discredited FBI bullet test used in hundreds of criminal prosecutions and an in-depth interview with former CIA Director George Tenet. After beginning her career at her hometown paper, Aggarwal worked at television stations in Portland and San Francisco, as well as “Today.” She earned her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and her master’s from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Aggarwal has received numerous journalism awards, including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, several News Emmys and an Edward R. Murrow Award, among others. She also launched the broadcast journalism program at the City College of New York and led executive communications for the Search and Maps teams at Google. She joined CIR in May 2019 to lead our collaborations and local work.
CIR engaged Koya Partners, the nonprofit practice of Diversified Search Group, to lead the CEO search.