The Texas Tribune Names a New C.E.O.


The Texas Tribune, one of the biggest nonprofit newsrooms in the country, announced on Wednesday that Sonal Shah will be its next chief executive.

Ms. Shah, who has extensive experience in social innovation and nonprofits, will take over from Evan Smith, who was a founder of The Tribune in 2009 and has run it since. Mr. Smith said in January that he intended to step down by the end of the year after running the organization for 13 years.

The Tribune has more than 10,000 paying readers and more than 175,000 newsletter subscribers, according to the company. The newsroom will continue to be led by Sewell Chan, who joined last year from The Los Angeles Times.

Ms. Shah, 54, is currently an interim executive vice president at United Way and has spent more than 25 years leading social impact work in various sectors. She founded Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation, as well as The Asian American Foundation.

Ms. Shah also worked as director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation in the Obama administration; an economist for the Treasury Department; and the national policy director for Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 presidential campaign. She also spent time at Google and Goldman Sachs.

Ms. Shah, who grew up in Texas and now lives in Houston, said her background was a good fit for the work of The Tribune.

“It is an unparalleled organization and publication in Texas that is vital to our community, informing the public and ensuring the future of our democracy,” she said in an interview.

She cited three examples of what she considered standouts of The Tribune’s high impact work: its coverage of the devastating winter storm that hit Texas in 2021, its daily coronavirus pandemic tracker and its reporting on the Uvalde school shooting in May that killed 19 students and two teachers.

“I’m a Texan so The Tribune matters to me,” she said.

Ms. Shah will start her new position in January. Mr. Smith will become a senior adviser to the company.

“As we look toward the Trib’s next phase of growth, I more than anyone recognize the vital importance of having the right leader in place for this time,” Mr. Smith said in a statement. “I have no doubt that Sonal Shah is that leader.”


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