Kroft plans to announce his decision to step down on this Sunday’s broadcast, the show’s season finale. His last segment, also slated for Sunday’s broadcast, will feature an investigation into bank fraud, A tribute to him and his career is expected to air on CBS in September.
He has been with the show for 30 seasons, starting in 1989. Yet when he first started, he was the new kid on the block – surrounded by legends like Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, Harry Reasoner and Ed Bradley. When Kroft steps down, at the age of 73, Lesley Stahl will become the correspondent on the program with the longest tenure.
“From the moment Steve Kroft arrived at CBS News in 1980, he has been shot out of a cannon and wherever he landed his stories broke news, had depth, and a strong sense of humanity,” said Susan Zirinsky, CBS News’ president and senior executive producer, in a statement. “From Central America to a tour of duty in London, and back to New York, his destiny was clear – Kroft’s investigative instincts and ability to unravel the most complex stories made him a perfect fit for the ’60 Minutes’ team.”
Kroft’s reporting has given the newsmagazine some of its most memorable moments, including an interview when Hilary Clinton, then the spouse of an untested presidential candidate, defended her husband against allegations of an extramarital affair in a post-Super Bowl broadcast that resounded globally. “I’m not sitting here some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette,” Clinton said at the time. “I’m sitting here because I love him, and I respect him.”
Kroft also visited Chernobyl in Russia , and examined how the military disciplined a veteran officer for a friendly fire incident. A story on insider trading in U.S. Congresss drove the passage of an act that barred such practices in 2012. His November 2008 interview with President-elect Barack Obama drew more than 25 million viewers – the biggest audience the program has had since 1999. Kroft interviewed Obama 11 times during his presidential term. Kroft’s reporting for the show has won two Silver Batons in Columbia University’s Alfred I. duPont awards.
Kroft is stepping away from the job at a time of transition at CBS News. Zirinsky has working her way through a top-to-bottom overhaul of the news division, and has recently named new a new anchor lineup for “CBS This Morning” and has set a new anchor, Norah O’Donnell, for “CBS Evening News.” The newsmagazine has also been through a period of change, with Bill Owens succeeding Jeff Fager as executive producer – just the third in the program’s history. John Dickerson, the former anchor of “Face The Nation,” is moving to “60 Minutes” to cover politics after serving a stint on the CBS morning program.
The Hollywood Reporter previously reported Kroft’s decision.