Jones begins Feb. 1 as the first Black executive to lead one of the major cable news organizations.
Cesar Conde, chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group, said in a memo to NBC employees that Griffin will retire early next year.
Jones, who is no relation to the actress of the same name, is currently senior vice president overseeing daytime and weekend programming along with breaking news and national events.
“Rashida knows and understands MSNBC, in part because it’s where she started when she first joined NBCU seven years ago,” Conde said. “She knows that it is the people who work here that make it great, and she understands its culture. She also appreciates the impact and potential of the brand.”
Conde said Griffin, who joined MSNBC when it began 25 years ago and has been president since 2008, decided after the presidential election to “depart at a time of his choosing and when he felt confident about the strength of the network he loves.”
Conde praised Jones and her coverage of “the global pandemic, the social justice protests and unrest, Decision 2020, and the two most-viewed Democratic presidential debates in television history.”
Jones helped lead the preparation for Kristen Welker’s role as general election debate moderator and produced the “Justice for All” and “Climate in Crisis” editorial series for NBC.
Jones, a graduate of Hampton University, got her start as news director for an NBC affiliate in Columbia, S.C., and served as director of live programming for The Weather Channel.
This year Conde announced a goal for the staff of NBC News to be made up of 50% women and 50% people of color.
“We’ve been blessed with spectacular talent at every level,” Griffin said. “I admire the commitment, the camaraderie, the scrappiness, the pure love everyone has for this place. MSNBC is about humanity. The creativity, the compassion, the fact you all care so much. And that is what I will miss the most.”