Chris Licht: CNN chief executive leaving company

Executive's departure comes after a disastrous profile in 'The Atlantic' rendered his position untenable

CNN chief executive Chis Licht is out at the company after a disastrous one-year tenure. Reuters
Powered by automated translation

CNN's Chris Licht is leaving the company after a tumultuous tenure at the network.

David Zaslav, chief executive of parent company Warner Bros, told staff during a morning editorial call on Wednesday that Mr Licht “will be leaving CNN”.

His departure from the company comes days after a damning 15,000-word profile in The Atlantic that ultimately rendered Mr Licht's position untenable.

The profile chronicled a series of missteps including a disastrous town hall with former president Donald Trump, where the network was criticised for serving as a platform for Mr Trump to repeat his false-fraud election claims.

CNN's town hall with Mr Trump drew in 3.3 million viewers, but its prime-time viewership dropped below that of conservative outlet Newsmax two days later.

CNN has also faced historically low ratings and low employee morale in the last year, media outlets reported.

Mr Licht apologised to employees on Monday and vowed to fight to regain their trust after The Atlantic profile called into question his leadership at the company.

He replaced Jeff Zucker at CNN last year, where he was faced with moving the network towards the political centre.

During his Monday call, Mr Licht failed to gain the support of network employees who remained loyal to Mr Zucker, the Associated Press reported.

He will be replaced on an interim basis by Amy Entelis, executive vice president of talent and content development, Puck reported. Three other executives will make up the leadership team, Mr Zaslav said.

“We are in good hands, allowing us to take the time we need to run a thoughtful and thorough search for a new leader,” Mr Zaslav said in a memo to CNN staff.

Updated: June 08, 2023, 4:43 AM