The CEO of CNN, Chris Licht, will leave the direction of the american news channel, announced Wednesday the group, after several weeks of turmoil within the newsroom, part of which challenged its management. Chris Licht took the reins of the oldest streaming news channel in the United States in May 2022, after the sudden departure of iconic boss Jeff Zucker, who had not told his executives about his romantic relationship with a CNN executive.
Since then, the fifty-year-old has tried to revive the old lady of continuous news, whose audiences suffer from competition with its conservative rival Fox News, but also with MSNBC, with a more left-wing editorial line. He has made several reshuffles within the program schedule, without success for the moment, and tried some media stunts, in the first place the live and public broadcast with Donald Trump as guest, mid-May. This program was badly received by part of the public but also within the editorial staff, who saw it as a platform offered unreservedly to the former president, in front of an audience of Republican sympathizers for the most part committed to his cause.
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A clear break between the leader and his teams
In addition, the show's effect on ratings was short-lived, as a few days later, CNN fell behind the small conservative channel Newsmax in the ranking of the day. Chris Licht's position was, once again, further weakened by the publication, last week, of a very long article in The Atlantic magazine, which highlighted the clear break between the leader and his teams. "The task was not easy, especially at a time of great upheaval and transformation and Chris put his heart into it," said David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, parent company of CNN, in an internal memo obtained by AFP. "Unfortunately, things didn't turn out as we had hoped, and in the end I take responsibility for that," he added.
The network said that Chris Licht's replacement had not yet been chosen, and that in the meantime, CNN would rely on a team of interim executives, consisting of three vice presidents already within the group for editorial matters and number two for the commercial part.