After five years at the helm of Vermont PBS, president and CEO Holly Groschner is planning to retire at the end of June, the station announced Friday. She will be replaced on an interim basis by chief operating officer Steve Ferreira until the nonprofit's board of directors completes a search for her successor.
"I have to say it's been very rewarding to bring so many people into the station, but as rewarding has been reconnecting Vermont PBS with Vermonters," Groschner said Friday afternoon. "We're really here to serve the state, and I think that connection has been reestablished."
Groschner has overseen a number of major changes at the station, including the sale of a broadcast license that netted $56 million at auction and the organization's relocation from Colchester's Fort Ethan Allen to downtown Winooski.
Marguerite Dibble, who serves as chair of the Vermont PBS board, said Friday that Groschner had built "an enviable foundation for a public media station," crediting her as "the catalyst" for the spectrum sale. "She's put us in an extremely strong place, and that's been wonderful," Dibble said.
Groschner said she was proud of her work to increase local programing, collaborate with Vermont Public Radio and, more recently, work with the state Agency of Education to provide educational opportunities for children during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Groschner, the transition has been in the works for some time, but its public announcement was delayed by the outbreak. "I have to say that having this time in my little town and being home helped confirm that now is the right time," she said.
Though the pandemic has delayed the completion of the move to Winooski and complicated the station's operations, Groschner said its finances remain sound. "To this point, our donors are being very supportive, and we think that the real challenges will come later in the year," she said.
Groschner said she's not on the hunt for a new job but hopes to stay involved in Vermont civic life.
"I'm putting down my cellphone for at least six months," she said. "I have to say that I love Vermont, and I really want to immerse myself in the opportunities that Vermont presents. This is a very special time for me to re-center and make sure that I can contribute in meaningful ways in my retirement."