Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

Mark Thompson is stepping in as the subsequent CEO and chairman of CNN.

Mother or father firm Warner Bros. Discovery stated Wednesday it appointed Thompson as the subsequent chief of the cable information community, a couple of quick months after the ouster of Chris Licht.

Thompson beforehand served as president and CEO of The New York Instances from 2012 to 2020, in addition to director-general of the BBC from 2004 to 2012. Thompson’s first day on the CNN workplace can be Oct. 9, he instructed CNN staffers in a memo.

“I’m assured he’s precisely the chief we have to take the helm of CNN at this pivotal time,” Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav instructed employees in a be aware Wednesday. “Massive because of all of you on your endurance, dedication, and arduous work. Merely said: the actual energy of CNN is its individuals, and also you proceed to set the best customary in all that you just do.”

The appointment of Thompson, a 40-year information veteran who was not too long ago knighted for his companies in media, happens simply because the presidential marketing campaign cycle within the U.S. accelerates.

Thompson takes the reins of CNN as wire chopping has ramped up for the normal TV bundle and rankings have lagged behind different cable information rivals. Final week, Warner Bros. Discovery introduced it could add CNN to its Max streaming service starting Sept. 27. It’s going to function the community’s reply to streaming as a 24/7 dwell information hub.

“As everybody is aware of, TV journalism is approaching peak disruption. We face strain from each course – structural, political, cultural, you title it. Like many different media organizations, CNN has not too long ago felt among the uncertainty and heartache that comes with all of that,” Thompson wrote to CNN employees. “There is no magic wand that I or anybody else can wield to make this disruption go away. However what I can say is that the place others see menace, I see alternative – particularly given CNN’s nice model and the energy of its journalism.”

His hiring additionally follows what has been a tumultuous time for the cable information community, particularly for its management.

In early 2022, longtime chief Jeff Zucker resigned after failing to reveal a romantic relationship with a high-ranking colleague – who additionally as soon as served as communications director to ex-New 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 stated it obtained new details about his controversial position in advising his brother.

Quickly after Zucker stepped down, CNN’s mum or dad firm possession modified fingers with the merger of Warner Bros. and Discovery. Earlier than closing the deal, Zaslav had appointed Licht as CNN’s CEO, who was beforehand the chief govt behind the “CBS This Morning” information program and “Morning Joe” on MSNBC. On the time, Zaslav referred to as Licht a “dynamic and artistic producer, an enticing and considerate journalist, and a real information individual.”

One in every of Licht’s first strikes was the swift closure of CNN+, the cable information community’s then-newly launched streaming platform that was failing to garner viewership in its early days.

Licht’s time at CNN was quick, nonetheless. In June, Licht departed CNN after main the community for little greater than a 12 months that included a collection of programming missteps and rock-bottom rankings. He had additionally drawn criticism within the weeks earlier than his ouster after CNN hosted a city corridor with Donald Trump that was filled with tons of followers who cheered on the previous president as he pushed election lies and insulted host Kaitlan Collins.

Shortly after, The Atlantic printed an unflattering 15,000-word profile of Licht titled “Contained in the Meltdown at CNN,” which seemingly sealed his destiny. Though Licht apologized to CNN staffers it wasn’t sufficient and his departure was introduced within the ensuing days.

Whereas community 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 management position.

Learn Zaslav’s memo to employees:

All,

I wished to inform you first that we are going to be welcoming a brand new chief for CNN Worldwide. Shortly, we are going to announce that extremely revered information govt Mark Thompson can be becoming a member of our management group as Chairman and CEO, efficient October 9, reporting on to me. Mark has been within the information enterprise for greater than 4 a long time and, as a lot of you might be conscious, he has an distinctive track-record of innovation and excellence. I’m assured he’s precisely the chief we have to take the helm of CNN at this pivotal time.

I will share extra about Mark in a second. However earlier than I do, I wish to say that I acknowledge change just isn’t simple, and I do know you have been by a variety of it. Massive because of all of you on your endurance, dedication, and arduous work. Merely said: the actual energy of CNN is its individuals, and also you proceed to set the best customary in all that you just do.

I wish to give a particular because of Amy, David, Virginia and Eric for the distinctive job they’ve carried out main CNN and shifting the enterprise ahead throughout this interim interval. They pulled collectively as a group and actually delivered, and I’m personally grateful for his or her arduous work and sacrifices, as they added vital tasks on prime of their substantial useful roles. I do know they’re going to be an enormous assist to Mark when he comes on board.

Mark has led and reworked two of the world’s most revered information organizations. Most not too long ago, he served as president and CEO of The New York Instances from 2012-2020, constructing the corporate right into a digital-subscription powerhouse. In truth, beneath his management, the Instances elevated its paid digital subscriptions tenfold and greater than doubled its whole digital revenues.

Earlier than that, Mark served as director-general of the BBC from 2004-2012, the place he presided over one of many world’s largest newsrooms in addition to scores of nationwide and worldwide TV and radio companies and intensive world digital information belongings. He led the event of the BBC iPlayer, the world’s first streaming service from a significant broadcaster, expanded internet and smartphone companies from information to training to leisure, and oversaw protection of the most important occasions of the time from the worldwide monetary disaster of 2008-09 to the 2012 Olympic Video games in London. Earlier than changing into a senior govt, Mark was a working researcher, director, discipline producer and award-winning showrunner within the BBC’s information division.

I’ve lengthy admired Mark’s transformative management and his means to encourage organizations to lift their very own ambitions and sense of what is doable… and obtain it. I’ve spent a variety of time speaking with him over the previous couple of weeks and could not be extra excited for all that is in retailer.

Please be a part of me in welcoming Mark to the group!

David

Learn Thompson’s be aware to CNN staffers:

Expensive all,

Little question you have heard the information and skim David Zaslav’s message confirming that I am to be CNN’s subsequent Chairman and CEO. I simply wished so as to add a couple of phrases of my very own.

I can not inform you how happy and proud I’m to be becoming a member of you after so a few years of watching – and envying – your work from the skin. Over the a long time, I’ve ran into CNN groups on story after story from Washington, DC to Tiananmen Sq.. Two months in the past I spent a day watching CNN’s spell-binding protection of the Wagner rise up, and I watched and skim our main rivals too. That day confirmed an previous fact to me: when it issues most, CNN is one of the best place to seek out out what’s occurring. You at all times rise to the event.

As everybody is aware of, TV journalism is approaching peak disruption. We face strain from each course – structural, political, cultural, you title it. Like many different media organizations, CNN has not too long ago felt among the uncertainty and heartache that comes with all of that. There is no magic wand that I or anybody else can wield to make this disruption go away. However what I can say is that the place others see menace, I see alternative – particularly given CNN’s nice model and the energy of its journalism. I’ve spent a lot of the previous twenty years determining with colleagues at among the world’s different nice information operations not simply the way to survive the revolution, however to thrive in it and acquire new audiences and income streams. I purpose to do the identical at CNN. It will not be myplan that wins the day however our plan, the plan we devise and implement collectively. Which is why, notably within the early weeks, you may discover me doing much more listening and studying than holding forth.

I wish to add my private because of the interim management group. Amy, David, Virginia and Eric have carried out a terrific job steering the ship over the previous couple of months and I stay up for working with them.

My first official day within the workplace is 9 October however I am planning to pop in a couple of instances earlier than then. So in the event you see a tall determine with an English accent and a loud snort, you may know who it’s.

All one of the best,

Mark 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *