CNN CEO Chris Licht Out; WBD CEO David Zaslav Confirms Departure
After a controversial run as CNN CEO, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav confirmed that Chris Licht will be leaving the news network.
Heading into last Friday's profile piece in The Atlantic, things were already looking pretty lousy for CNN CEO Chris Licht. Ratings were plummeting, the network's reputation was taking another beating for hosting what many believed to be a glorified infomercial for Donald Trump, and rumblings about worsening morale were getting louder with each passing day. And then, on Friday, "Inside the Meltdown at CNN" went live… and things got a whole lot worse. To many, the piece was another example of poor judgment on Licht's part, putting the CEO and the news network in a bad light at a time when that's the last thing that CNN needs. Even worse, rumblings were that Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav was less than thrilled with The Atlantic article – so much so that Licht attempted damage control on Monday morning's 9 am editorial call. In addition, we learned that David Leavy (an ally of Zaslav's) was being brought aboard as CNN's new chief operating officer, overseeing marketing, public relations, advertising sales, facilities, and additional aspects. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your perspective), that wasn't good enough with the official word coming down this morning that Licht is out at CNN.
Zaslav shared the news this morning during a CNN editorial call, sharing, "I met with Chris, and he will be leaving CNN." The move comes after what can best be described as a controversial run as CEO of the news network by Licht – one that comes as the news network readies itself for its 2024 presidential election coverage and not long after Warner Bros. Discovery rolled out its new Max streaming service – of which, CNN is expected to be a major part. In the interim, the leadership team moving forward will include Amy Entelis, executive vice president of talent and content development; Virginia Moseley, executive vice president of editorial; and Eric Sherling, executive vice president of U.S. programming. Leavy will continue overseeing the company's commercial activities. "I have great respect for Chris, personally and professionally," Zaslav said in a statement. "The job of leading CNN was never going to be easy, especially at a time of huge disruption and transformation, and he has poured his heart and soul into it. While we know we have work to do as we look to identify a new leader, we have absolute confidence in the team we have in place and will continue to fight for CNN and its world-class journalism."