A little more than a month after CBC reported it had hired a new managing editor, CBC is looking to fill the job again.
"Norbert Poitras has decided not to continue in the managing editor role," said CBC's top official in the North, senior managing director Mervin Brass, on Friday. "That change takes effect today."
Poitras, a former afternoon radio show host at CBC North, started his new job overseeing all CBC North editorial content on Feb. 22.
So, what changed?
"Those kinds of conversations are confidential," said Brass. "It's a staffing matter."
Brass said Poitras only worked as managing editor "a couple of weeks, actually doing the work. Then it just became conversations and discussions."
"He just changed his mind and that's something we agreed on. At the beginning we were working at it, and he made a decision that that's no longer something he wants to do."
Brass would not say if CBC had to make any financial settlement with Poitras as a result of the change.
CBC North serves Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Northern Quebec.
Poitras was not available for comment.
When Brass was promoted from managing editor to senior managing director six months ago, he said he was committed to hiring more Indigenous people at all levels of CBC North. Poitras is an Indigenous northerner from Fort Chipewyan, Alta.
Brass said he "remains committed to diversity and inclusion in our hiring" and that "it's still a priority to bring in Indigenous people and develop them. We're not going to stop doing that."
Weeks of speculation
Brass informed staff that Poitras is no longer managing editor at a virtual meeting Friday afternoon. It brings to an end weeks of speculation among staff about whether Poitras was managing editor.
CBC staff noted his absence from meetings since he started and few have had any contact with him.
A former CBC North managing editor said news organizations have an obligation to be accountable to their audiences, but that becomes challenging when personnel matters are involved.
"It's always a difficult thing, trying to balance these privacy concerns, legal concerns while also giving transparency to their audience," said Archie McLean, who is now a journalism professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary.
"CBC does have an obligation to be transparent," he said. "Any news organization that is asking and demanding accountability from other organizations certainly has the same obligation themselves."
Brass said CBC will begin searching for a new managing editor in the coming days. He said in the meantime, he will assume the role.