Al Jazeera America replaces chief as turmoil hits newsroom

Al Jazeera America replaces chief as turmoil hits newsroom
Ehad Alshihabi is out as interim chief of Al Jazeera America. (Associated Press)

Al Jazeera America reports on the news -- and with its recent management problems, it also makes it.

The upstart cable channel Wednesday announced the exit of its controversial interim chief, Ehad Alshihabi, who had the job of launching the U.S. branch of the news outlet in 2013.

Al Anstey, a TV news veteran who has worked for the Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera since 2005, will take over immediately as chief executive, the network said.

"There are human stories across the United States that need to be told," Anstey wrote in a statement. "Stories that inspire, enlighten and inform."

Alshihabi, a former management consultant, had come in for heavy criticism recently as a series of high-profile departures plagued Al Jazeera America, including the exit of its senior executive responsible for newsgathering.

story this week in the New York Times depicted a newsroom in turmoil, with staffers accusing managers of vindictive tactics.  According to the story, Alshihabi locked horns with Ali Velshi, a CNN veteran who now hosts a program on Al Jazeera. Alshihabi allegedly threatened that he would bankrupt Velshi in court and vowed that the newsman was "finished here." Alshihabi denied making the comments.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera has struggled to gain a foothold in the U.S. cable news market, with an average nightly audience that numbers just 30,000. By comparison, Fox News' average prime time audience is well over 2 million.

Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT