NPR’s Thomas Hjelm Named US Chief Digital Officer of the Year 2017 by CDO Club

Thomas Hjelm, Chief Digital Officer at NPR, was today recognized as the U.S. Chief Digital Officer of the Year 2017 by the CDO Club, the world’s largest community of C-suite digital and data leaders with over 5,000 registered members.

Mr. Hjelm was presented with the award today after his keynote on “The United States of Public Radio” at the DC CDO Summit hosted at the W hotel in Washington, D.C., by CDO Club founder David Mathison.

Thomas Hjelm has more than 20 years’ experience in developing new products, programs, and brands, and engaging audiences across digital platforms, radio, television, and film.

“Today we recognize Thomas as a visionary executive and inspirational leader who has successfully transformed major media businesses from AOL to NBC, from New York Public Radio to NPR,” noted David Mathison, CEO of the CDO Club.

“Thomas has consistently proven himself to be a mentor to his staff, collegial and helpful with his peers, and a well-respected colleague inside and outside his organization. I am delighted to name Thomas Hjelm as the U.S. Chief Digital Officer of the Year for 2017,” said Mathison.

“I am honored to receive this recognition. I have the great fortune of working with incredibly talented teams at NPR and across the public radio system,” said Hjelm. “The digital transformation of public radio is well under way, and by exploring new innovative tools and platforms, we have a tremendous opportunity to renew our mission and extend our compact with audiences across the country.”

In April 2016, Mr. Hjelm became Chief Digital Officer of NPR. Based in Washington D.C., he oversees NPR’s strategies for reaching and engaging new audiences across a range of innovative products and platforms, and works across the public radio system to lead collective strategies for digital transformation and growth.

From February 2011 to 2016, Mr. Hjelm was Chief Digital Officer at New York Public Radio (NYPR), where he led their digital, business, and audience development efforts, which included overseeing the marketing, distribution, data and audience, product and business development teams.

His work at NYPR directly and positively impacted NPR member stations WNYC FM and AM; classical music station WQXR; the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space; and other broadcast and digital properties including Radiolab, Freakonomics Radio, The New Yorker Radio Hour, On the Media, Studio 360, The Takeaway, Brian Lehrer, Leonard Lopate, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, Note to Self, Death, Sex and Money, and Snap Judgment.

From 2003 to 2006 at AOL, Tom produced multiple campaigns to promote the AOL for Broadband experience in stores, direct mail, and online; and supervised the creative execution of the online, print, out-of-home, guerilla, viral, and radio campaigns for the 2005 re-launches of and AIM.

He began his career in 1995 as Producer for NBC Interactive where he supervised content development and production for websites for NBC shows including Homicide: Life on the Street, The Tonight Show, Late Night, and Saturday Night Live.

In May 1998, he became Executive Producer at, where he managed strategy, operations, and content and product development for an online network of original entertainment content. Later he joined NBC Local Media in New York, where he oversaw the digital content strategy and operations for a network of 10 owned-and-operated major-market stations.

Hjelm received a B.A. in English from Swarthmore College and an M.F.A. in Film Production from the University of Southern California.

Previous U.S. Chief Digital Officer of the Year award winners include Linda Boff, Chief Marketing Officer at GE (2016); Adam Brotman, Chief Digital Officer at Starbucks Coffee Company (2015); Rachael S. Haot, former Chief Digital Officer of New York City and New York State (2014); and Teddy Goff, former Digital Director at Obama for America (2013).

See all the past Chief Data Officer and Chief Digital Officer of the Year recipients here.

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