After a tumultuous and brief tenure, Chris Licht, the Chief Executive and Chairman of CNN, has left the company, Your Content has learned.
The announcement was made by David Zaslav, the CEO of parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, during the network’s daily editorial meeting.
Licht’s departure comes after a challenging year for CNN, which included layoffs, declining profits, low ratings, the firing of two anchors, and low employee morale.
The organization had already faced setbacks with the removal of the previous leader, Jeff Zucker, and the closure of CNN+’s streaming service.
Licht, who joined as network chief last May after a successful run with “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” faced significant criticism during his time at CNN.
Leaks from employees who doubted his leadership abilities and editorial vision contributed to the negative press surrounding him.
The tipping point came with a damning 15,000-word profile in The Atlantic, authored by Tim Alberta. The article, based on interviews with over 100 CNN employees, raised serious doubts about Licht’s capability to lead the organization into the future.
Despite attempting to regain trust by apologizing to staff and promising to fight for their confidence, it became evident that Licht’s position as CEO was no longer sustainable.
High-profile anchors, correspondents, and staff had lost faith in his leadership. Recognizing this, Zaslav appointed David Leavy as CNN’s Chief Operating Officer.
In the wake of The Atlantic article, concerns grew within Warner Bros. Discovery about Licht’s leadership. Ultimately, Zaslav made the decision to remove him from his position earlier this week.
Licht was officially informed of his departure on Wednesday, along with other key members of CNN’s communications department.
Licht’s absence from the meeting where Zaslav announced his departure was notable. The press release issued by Warner Bros.
Discovery did not include a comment from Licht, and he has not responded to requests for comment.
Taking responsibility for the recent chaos at CNN, Zaslav acknowledged that Licht’s role was challenging and praised his career, wishing him success in his future endeavors.
The company is now embarking on an extensive search, both internally and externally, to find a new network chief, with Zaslav cautioning that the process will take time, according to CNN.