The 66-year-old Zirinsky, who will report to the CEO, begins in her new role in March.
She replaces David Rhodes, who is stepping down as president of CBS News.
Zirinsky began her career at CBS News in the Washington bureau two weeks after the Watergate break-in. Over the next four decades she produced a wide variety of award-winning documentaries and programs, and she covered a range of historic stories, from the Gulf War to the student uprising in Tiananmen Square, from the White House for 10 years to the 9/11 attacks, and from the Paris terrorist attacks to the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla. School.
Her work has been lauded by critics and honored by her peers with journalism’s top honors, including Emmys, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and the George Foster Peabody Award, according to a press release.
“No broadcast news producer is more highly respected and admired than Susan Zirinsky,” said Ianniello. “She is an exceptional leader, a creative force, and an outstanding and proven journalist. Her energy, innovative instincts and competitive spirit are just what is needed to bring the best of CBS News to viewers on every platform.”
“I have been honored to work closely throughout my career with great CBS News journalists,” said Zirinsky. “This may be a new role, but the mission is the same: deliver quality, in-depth journalism and engaging storytelling. CBS News has an incredible legacy to build on. The public’s interest today for news and information is intense, and CBS News is uniquely positioned to expand its reach.”
Beginning as a part-time desk assistant in the CBS Washington Bureau in 1972 while attending college at American University, Zirinsky was surrounded by the legendary CBS News reporting team led by Walter Cronkite that dominated Watergate coverage on television.