Mark Thompson tapped to lead CNN

CNN has tapped Mark Thompson to become the network’s next leader, the company announced Wednesday morning.

Thompson, who previously worked as the chief executive of The New York Times and director-general of the BBC, succeeds Chris Licht, whose tumultuous tenure saw the network’s ratings and employees’ morale drop. He was fired in June following a 15,000-word Atlantic profile that called his leadership into question.

“Mark is a true innovator who has transformed for the digital age two of the world’s most respected news organizations,” David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, said in a statement. “His strategic vision, track record in transformational leadership and sheer passion for news make him a formidable force for CNN and journalism at this pivotal time.”

Starting Oct. 9, Thompson will take the reins during a pivotal time for the news organization. A number of high-profile departures have roiled the network, including Licht and hosts Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo, who were also fired within the past two years.

The CNN+ streaming service was also abruptly shuttered, massive layoffs impacted hundreds of employees and some of the network’s most popular shows saw staffing rotations amid internal disputes.

In the statement, CNN cited the four decades of experience Thompson brings to the network as well as a strong track record of bolstering the Times’ digital subscription and digital revenue as he oversaw much of the newspaper’s innovation from 2012 to 2020.

“Where others see disruption, I see opportunity. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get down to work with my new colleagues to build a successful future for CNN,” Thompson said in the statement.

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