Mag.a Kathrin Zechner was born on 17 May 1963 in Graz.

The lawyer with an almost finished second degree in theatre studies started in 1986 as a freelancer for the ORF and moved in 1991 as head of entertainment to the German private channel TELE 5 in Munich. In the following year, she began to establish the German branch of the production company John de Mol Hilversum in Cologne and managed it until 1995.

In the same year, she came back to the ORF under general manager Gerhard Zeiler as program director. She held this position also under Gerhard Weis until 2002. This was followed by two years of independently developing concepts for theater and film productions. Between 2004 and 2011 Zechner was artistic director of the musical stages of the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien (Raimund Theater, Theater an der Wien, later Ronacher). Under her leadership - from "Rebecca" to "The Infernal Comedy" with John Malkovich, from "Romeo and Juliet" to "The Weberian" -, musicals were developed and premiered, as well as new accents set in the German-speaking musical landscape. The sale of in-house developments, e.g. to South Korea, lead to international success.

As of 2012, Kathrin Zechner was the TV director of the ORF and thus responsible for both the information area as well as the entire entertainment area. She was the driving force in the expansion of information and documentary programs (eg ZiB magazine, Wahlfahrt, ZiB 100 and DOKein for the younger target group) and Austrian fiction (eg Vorstadtweiber, Landkrimis, city life comedies or films about strong women such as "Bertha von Suttner").

In September 2016, Kathrin Zechner was appointed to the ORF board for another five years as program director (starting date 1.1.2017).

In addition to the program-producing departments, she is also responsible for parts of the ORF Future Project (ORF Player).

Kathrin Zechner is the mother of two sons.