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For immediate release
October 25, 2001
Contact: NPR
Gretchen Michael,
202-513-2313
gmichael@npr.org



NPR Taps Amazon.com Executice to Lead NPR.org

Washington, DC – NPR® has named Amazon.com executive Maria C. Thomas as vice president for NPR Online effective October 29, 2001. With 15 years of experience in high-technology and finance, Thomas brings to NPR a broad range of strategic business skills and expertise unique to the online environment. Thomas will lead a talented team of writers, programmers and designers, who will continue to enhance npr.org's content, increase traffic to the site and expand services for NPR member stations.

Thomas comes to NPR after more than two years with Amazon.com. At Amazon.com, Thomas directed various Internet operations including the launch and management of Amazon.com's camera and photo store and the company's partnership with Ofoto, a Kodak company engaged in the online photo services business. Prior to running Amazon.com's camera and photo operations, Thomas was director of marketplace strategy and business development.

“Maria has the right mix of strategic, business and customer experience to take npr.org to the next level in its development,” said Ken Stern, NPR's executive vice president. “Maria brings the right combination of energy, ideas and experience to NPR. We're looking to her to make npr.org even more valuable to its users.”

"As a longtime NPR fan and confessed Internet-a-holic, I am thrilled to join the team at NPR. I think there is a tremendous opportunity for NPR to become even more important to its audiences by further extending the network's unique content and related products and services to the Web," said Thomas. "I also plan to work closely with NPR member stations to provide smart content and navigation options that ultimately will make NPR's content on the Web more valuable and easily accessible to the end user."

Prior to joining Amazon.com, Ms. Thomas spent seven years as an investment officer with the World Bank's private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), in Washington, DC.

Her career at the IFC culminated with an appointment to the position of special assistant to the executive vice president. Ms. Thomas began her career on Wall Street where she spent five years in corporate and project finance with Kidder, Peabody & Company, Inc. and UBS Securities, Inc. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Boston University and obtained her MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

More than 2 million people visit npr.org each month and the site receives more than 5 million page views per month. Launched in 1994, npr.org provides hourly newscasts, news features, commentaries and live events to Internet users through exclusive, original online reports, audio streaming and web only content including All Songs Considered, Talking Plants and In Rehearsal.

NPR, renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, serves 16 million listeners weekly via more than 640 NPR member stations. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.