CNN May Have Found Its Next CEO





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CNN is searching for a new CEO and chairman after Chris Licht left in June amid reports of his challenges with the gig. Since then, the list of potential candidates has grown, with Mark Thompson, former chief of the New York Times and BBC, emerging as a lead candidate, according to Semafor.

While Warner Bros. Discovery declined to comment, people familiar with recruitment told Semafor that Thompson is a promising candidate for the role.

CNN, a crown jewel in the cable bundle for Warner Bros. Discovery, is in dire need of leadership after Licht’s departure, which came amid reports of his rifts with the staff. The 24-7 news network is one of the highest-rated cable channels and still wields massive influence as a go-to for live news events.  

But the network’s numbers have declined over the past few years, as have many leading cable news providers. Second-quarter reports show CNN is losing viewers, down from 1.8 million in 2020 to 573,000 this year, according to Financial Times. It now ranks third behind Fox News and MSNBC. 

Thompson started in the 1980s as a producer before transitioning to news in the U.K. He worked on evening news programs such as Newsnight and Panorama. Thompson also served as the director-general for BBC from 2004 through 2012, introducing on-demand television and radio to U.K. audiences.

Thompson then worked at the New York Times for eight years, retiring from his post in 2020. He helped transform its digital news division into a leading news source. Under his leadership, its digital revenue quadrupled, and subscriptions grew tenfold during his tenure, according to Semafor.

CNN was not available to comment.

In June, Warner Bros. Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav said finding a new CEO will “take a while… It’s important that things settle down,” according to Financial Times. As CNN continues its search for a replacement, executives Amy Entelis, Virginia Moseley, and Eric Sherling share the role until a final selection is made.

For now, the search is ongoing. Thompson appears to be enjoying his retirement and, in June, was knighted by King Charles in England.

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