John Dickerson will replace Bob Schieffer as anchor of 'Face the Nation'

John Dickerson will replace Bob Schieffer as anchor of 'Face the Nation'
John Dickerson is set to succeed Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation." (Associated Press)

CBS News political director John Dickerson will be the new anchor of the network's Sunday public affairs program "Face the Nation."

Dickerson will replace Bob Schieffer, who is retiring from CBS News this summer after a 46-year career. Schieffer announced the naming of Dickerson as his successor during Sunday's program.

Dickerson, 46, has been political director since 2011, guiding the network's coverage of politics. He began working at CBS in 2009 as an on-air analyst.

"I have watched Bob my whole professional life not just as a viewer but as a daily reporter who also covered the Hill," Dickerson said in a a statement. "I'm honored to carry on his tradition on 'Face the Nation.'"

Dickerson has been a frequent panelist on "Face the Nation," appearing on the program 83 times. He has been covering Washington for 20 years, working at Slate and Time magazine.

Dickerson's name is part of a legacy at CBS News and the Washington press corps. His mother, Nancy, became the first female news correspondent for the network in 1960. She worked on "Face the Nation" as an associate producer when the program first launched in 1954. She was also a White House correspondent for NBC News and a prominent Washington socialite.

CBS News President David Rhodes told The Times that discussions with Dickerson about taking over "Face the Nation" began during this past winter after Schieffer indicated he may be ready to retire. Once Schieffer decided he was ready to go, it had to be done before the 2016 presidential campaign fully ramped up or after the election was over.

"Nobody who is a political reporter wants to retire in the heat of the campaign," Rhodes said. "If he knew he wanted to retire, he was faced with the decision of doing it now or much later. That's why he went with now."

Schieffer, chief Washington correspondent for CBS News since 1982, announced his decision to retire Wednesday night during an annual symposium held at the Texas Christian University's Schieffer College of Communications, which is named after him.

Schieffer has been moderator of "Face the Nation" since 1991, when he took over the job from Lesley Stahl. He is the longest-running Sunday program anchor.

Dickerson is the second network news political director to take a Sunday show anchor job. His counterpart at NBC, Chuck Todd, was elevated to the anchor chair at "Meet the Press" last year.