CNN has named Mark Thompson, the former CEO of The New York Times and a former executive at the BBC, as its new CEO.
CNN made the announcement that Mark Thompson, a prominent figure in the British media industry, would be taking up the position of CEO, stepping into a challenging role as the news network grapples with declining ratings.
Mark Thompson, a seasoned media executive who previously served as the Director-General of the BBC and held the position of President and CEO at The New York Times Company, is set to assume his new role on October 9, according to a statement from Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN’s parent company.
Thompson’s appointment follows the departure of the former CNN head, Chris Licht, in June, who left amidst controversy over editorial decisions, including a contentious town hall meeting with former President Donald Trump characterized by vocal support from Trump’s backers and criticism directed at moderator Kaitlan Collins.
David Zaslav, the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, expressed his confidence in Thompson, stating, “Mark has an impressive track record, and I’ve long admired his leadership and his ability to motivate organizations to aim higher and achieve their goals. I believe he’s precisely the leader we need to guide CNN during this crucial period.”
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During his tenure as Director-General of the BBC from 2004 to 2012 and as the leader of The New York Times Company from 2012 to 2020, Thompson played a pivotal role in transitioning the prestigious American newspaper into the digital era, resulting in a significant increase in subscriptions, with over 10 million by 2023.
CNN has confronted a series of challenges recently, including declining viewership and profitability, as well as the departure of several high-profile figures, such as Chris Cuomo, who was terminated due to his involvement in defending his brother, Andrew Cuomo, amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Furthermore, in February 2022, former CNN president and influential media executive Jeff Zucker resigned following revelations of his undisclosed romantic relationship with a colleague.
One of Thompson’s initial tasks will be the launch of CNN Max, the network’s streaming service, scheduled for September 27. This comes after CNN+ was discontinued at a loss in April 2022, shortly after its launch. The decision to end CNN+ was made by the new management following the merger of CNN’s former parent company, WarnerMedia, with Discovery, forming Warner Bros. Discovery earlier that same month.