The award-winning journalist worked at NBC News for nearly 25 years
Credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Ann Curry is leaving NBC News after nearly 25 years with the network.

Curry, 58, is ending her role as an award-winning anchor and correspondent to found a media startup seeded by NBCUniversal, she announced Tuesday. She will now be free to report non-exclusively for any outlet but is leaving behind a $12 million salary.

“This is about reaching for the edge of the future in journalism, which we know is undergoing an irrevocable transition. I am excited about working to become a valuable link between traditional media and what is to come,” she said in a statement. “In today’s world of fragmented media, this is the time to seize the opportunity to improve the way we distribute and even tell stories.”

As a source close to Curry tells PEOPLE, “This is going to be a really good move for her.”

Though she made a name for herself covering international conflicts and interviewing world leaders like President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama, her tenure wasn’t without its controversies. She exited the Today show in 2012 after just more than a year as a co-anchor, reportedly because she clashed with Matt Lauer.

“I am sincerely grateful to NBC News for allowing me to offer viewers a vast and diverse body of work, including a depth of humanitarian reporting I understand still resonates,” she said in Tuesday’s statement.

“It has been a privilege to work with so many good and talented people at the network and I look forward to what we will do ahead. At the same time, I can’t wait to expand my reach and work with people I admire in other places.”

With reporting by EMILY STROHM