Chris Licht, who served as the chairman and chief executive officer of CNN, has decided to step down from his position after a relatively short tenure of 13 months. Licht was appointed to lead the renowned 24-hour news organization following the merger of Discovery with WarnerMedia, which houses CNN, HBO, and other prominent media entities.
The departure of CNN’s chief executive comes amid growing discontent among the network’s talent and staff. Employee rebellion seems to have played a significant role in Licht’s decision to step down. The specifics of the grievances and concerns raised by CNN’s talent and staff have not been disclosed publicly.
This development marks a notable change in leadership within CNN and raises questions about the future direction of the news organization. The search for a new chairman and CEO will undoubtedly be crucial in ensuring stability and addressing the concerns voiced by CNN’s talent and staff.
“I have known Chris for many years and have enormous respect for him, personally and professionally. This job was never going to be easy, especially at a time of great disruption and transformation, and Chris poured his heart and soul into it,” Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said in his memo. “Unfortunately, things did not work out the way we had hoped – and ultimately that’s on me. I take responsibility.”
During the process of finding a replacement for Chris Licht, Warner Bros. Discovery has announced that a team of executives will step in to lead CNN. The company stated that Amy Entelis, Virginia Moseley, Eric Sherling, and David Leavy will assume leadership roles within the news organization.
This temporary leadership arrangement demonstrates the commitment to maintaining CNN’s operations and ensuring continuity during the transition period. Amy Entelis, Virginia Moseley, Eric Sherling, and David Leavy, each bringing their respective expertise, will collectively oversee CNN’s operations and strategic initiatives.
As the search for a new chairman and CEO continues, this interim leadership team will play a crucial role in guiding CNN and addressing the challenges faced by the network. Their combined experience and knowledge will help ensure that CNN remains a prominent force in the media landscape.
“We have great confidence in this group and will fully support them until a new CEO is named,” Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said in a memo to staff, adding the company would be conducting a search internally and externally for CNN’s next leader. “We are in good hands, allowing us to take the time we need to run a thoughtful and thorough search for a new leader.”
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s memo to staff:
This morning we are announcing that Chris Licht will be leaving CNN and we will be conducting a wide search, internally and externally, for a new leader. I wanted you to hear this news directly from me as it impacts you and your teams.
I have known Chris for many years and have enormous respect for him, personally and professionally. This job was never going to be easy, especially at a time of great disruption and transformation, and Chris poured his heart and soul into it. He has a deep love for journalism and this business and that has been evident throughout his tenure. Unfortunately, things did not work out the way we had hoped – and ultimately that’s on me. I take responsibility. Needless to say, we appreciate Chris’ efforts and dedication and wish him all the best.
We have put in place a solid transition plan with the appointment of an acting leadership team made up of experienced programming executives… Amy Entelis, EVP, Talent & Content Development, Virginia Moseley, EVP, Editorial, and Eric Sherling, EVP, U.S. Programming, along with David Leavy, COO, on the commercial side. We have great confidence in this group and will fully support them until a new CEO is named. We are in good hands, allowing us to take the time we need to run a thoughtful and thorough search for a new leader. I recognize that changes like this can be stressful and appreciate your continued patience as we move through this process.
You’ve heard me say it many times: CNN has the greatest journalists in the world… we are deeply committed to supporting them and the critical work that CNN does every day. We must get this right – and we will!
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