Mark Thompson is stepping in as the following CEO and chairman of CNN.
Parent company Warner Bros. Discovery said Wednesday it appointed Thompson as the following leader of the cable news network, a couple of short months after the ouster of Chris Licht.
Thompson previously served as CEO and president of The Latest York Times from 2012 to 2020, in addition to director-general of the BBC from 2004 to 2012. Thompson’s first day on the CNN office might be Oct. 9, he told CNN staffers in a memo.
“I’m confident he is strictly the leader we want to take the helm of CNN at this pivotal time,” Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav told staff in a note Wednesday. “Big due to all of you in your patience, commitment, and exertions. Simply stated: the actual strength of CNN is its people, and also you proceed to set the very best standard in all that you simply do.”
The appointment of Thompson, a 40-year news veteran who was recently knighted for his services in media, occurs just because the presidential campaign cycle within the U.S. accelerates.
Thompson takes the reins of CNN as cord-cutting has ramped up for the normal TV bundle and rankings have lagged behind other cable news competitors. Last week, Warner Bros. Discovery announced it will add CNN to its Max streaming service starting Sept. 27. It is going to serve because the network’s answer to streaming as a 24/7 live news hub.
“As everyone knows, TV journalism is approaching peak disruption. We face pressure from every direction – structural, political, cultural, you name it. Like many other media organizations, CNN has recently felt a number of the uncertainty and heartache that comes with all of that,” Thompson wrote to CNN staff. “There isn’t any magic wand that I or anyone else can wield to make this disruption go away. But what I can say is that where others see threat, I see opportunity – especially given CNN’s great brand and the strength of its journalism.”
His hiring also follows what has been a tumultuous time for the cable news network, especially for its leadership.
In early 2022, longtime leader Jeff Zucker resigned after failing to reveal a romantic relationship with a high-ranking colleague – who also once served as communications director to ex-Latest York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Zucker’s resignation got here as a shock to staffers. Shortly after, prime time host Chris Cuomo was fired after CNN said it obtained recent details about his controversial role in advising his brother.
Soon after Zucker stepped down, CNN’s parent company ownership modified hands with the merger of Warner Bros. and Discovery. Prior to closing the deal, Zaslav had appointed Licht as CNN’s CEO, who was previously the chief executive behind the “CBS This Morning” news program and “Morning Joe” on MSNBC. On the time, Zaslav called Licht a “dynamic and artistic producer, a fascinating and thoughtful journalist, and a real news person.”
One in every of Licht’s first moves was the swift closure of CNN+, the cable news network’s then-newly launched streaming platform that was failing to garner viewership in its early days.
Licht’s time at CNN was short, nevertheless. In June, Licht departed CNN after leading the network for little greater than a 12 months that included a series of programming missteps and rock-bottom rankings. He had also drew criticism within the weeks before his ouster after CNN hosted a town hall with Donald Trump that was full of tons of fans who cheered on the previous president as he pushed election lies and insulted host Kaitlan Collins.
Shortly after, The Atlantic published an unflattering 15,000-word profile of Licht titled “Contained in the Meltdown at CNN,” which likely sealed his fate. Although Licht apologized to CNN staffers it wasn’t enough and his departure was announced in the following days.
While network executives Amy Entelis, Virginia Moseley, Eric Sherling and David Leavy led CNN since Licht left CNN, Warner Bros. Discovery brass looked for a alternative for the leadership role.
Read Zaslav’s memo to staff:
I desired to inform you first that we might be welcoming a recent leader for CNN Worldwide. Shortly, we are going to announce that highly respected news executive Mark Thompson might be joining our leadership team as Chairman and CEO, effective October 9, reporting on to me. Mark has been within the news business for greater than 4 many years and, as a lot of you might be aware, he has an exceptional track-record of innovation and excellence. I’m confident he is strictly the leader we want to take the helm of CNN at this pivotal time.
I’ll share more about Mark in a moment. But before I do, I need to say that I recognize change will not be easy, and I do know you’ve got been through a variety of it. Big due to all of you in your patience, commitment, and exertions. Simply stated: the actual strength of CNN is its people, and also you proceed to set the very best standard in all that you simply do.
I need to present a special due to Amy, David, Virginia and Eric for the exceptional job they’ve done leading CNN and moving the business forward during this interim period. They pulled together as a team and really delivered, and I’m personally grateful for his or her exertions and sacrifices, as they added significant responsibilities on top of their substantial functional roles. I do know they’ll be an enormous help to Mark when he comes on board.
Mark has led and transformed two of the world’s most respected news organizations. Most recently, he served as president and CEO of The Latest York Times from 2012-2020, constructing the corporate right into a digital-subscription powerhouse. Actually, under his leadership, the Times increased its paid digital subscriptions tenfold and greater than doubled its total digital revenues.
Before that, Mark served as director-general of the BBC from 2004-2012, where he presided over one among the world’s biggest newsrooms in addition to scores of national and international TV and radio services and extensive global digital news assets. He led the event of the BBC iPlayer, the world’s first streaming service from a significant broadcaster, expanded web and smartphone services from news to education to entertainment, and oversaw coverage of the largest events of the time from the worldwide financial crisis of 2008-09 to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Before becoming a senior executive, Mark was a working researcher, director, field producer and award-winning showrunner within the BBC’s news division.
I’ve long admired Mark’s transformative leadership and his ability to encourage organizations to boost their very own ambitions and sense of what is possible… and achieve it. I’ve spent a variety of time talking with him over the previous few weeks and couldn’t be more excited for all that is in store.
Please join me in welcoming Mark to the team!
Read Thompson’s note to CNN staffers:
Little question you’ve got heard the news and browse David Zaslav’s message confirming that I’m to be CNN’s next Chairman and CEO. I just desired to add a couple of words of my very own.
I can not inform you how pleased and proud I’m to be joining you after so a few years of watching – and envying – your work from the skin. Over the many years, I’ve bumped into CNN teams on story after story from Washington, DC to Tiananmen Square. Two months ago I spent a day watching CNN’s spell-binding coverage of the Wagner insurrection, and I watched and browse our major competitors too. That day confirmed an old truth to me: when it matters most, CNN is one of the best place to search out out what’s happening. You usually rise to the occasion.
As everyone knows, TV journalism is approaching peak disruption. We face pressure from every direction – structural, political, cultural, you name it. Like many other media organizations, CNN has recently felt a number of the uncertainty and heartache that comes with all of that. There isn’t any magic wand that I or anyone else can wield to make this disruption go away. But what I can say is that where others see threat, I see opportunity – especially given CNN’s great brand and the strength of its journalism. I’ve spent a lot of the past twenty years determining with colleagues at a number of the world’s other great news operations not only learn how to survive the revolution, but to thrive in it and gain recent audiences and revenue streams. I aim to do the identical at CNN. It won’t be myplan that wins the day but our plan, the plan we devise and implement together. Which is why, particularly within the early weeks, you will find me doing rather a lot more listening and learning than holding forth.
I need so as to add my personal due to the interim leadership team. Amy, David, Virginia and Eric have done a terrific job steering the ship over the past couple of months and I sit up for working with them.
My first official day within the office is 9 October but I’m planning to pop in a couple of times before then. So should you see a tall figure with an English accent and a loud laugh, you may know who it’s.
All one of the best,