Chris Jones, the veteran theater journo who is the chief theater critic and columnist at the Chicago Tribune, will take the reins at the O’Neill Theater Center’s National Critics Institute.

He steps into a post recently vacated by critic Dan Sullivan, a co-founder of NCI and the director of the program from 1999 until last year. A training and professional development program for legit critics, NCI runs for two weeks each summer in tandem with the well-known new work development programs at the O’Neill, including the National Playwrights Conference and the National Music Theater Conference.

Jones is among the most prominent theater writers covering the Chicago area, with the scribe appearing on local TV and radio as well as on NPR, the BBC and CBC. A former writer at Variety,  he’s also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the L.A. Times and American Theatre, and has served on the drama committee for the Pulitzer Prize.

Jones’ tenure at NCI starts this year. Sullivan will remain affiliated with the program as a faculty member, while Mark Charney retains his post as associate director.

The 2014 edition of NCI runs June 28-July 13 at the O’Neill center’s campus in Waterford, Conn.