CNN Taps Former New York Times Exec Mark Thompson as CEO

03:41 30.08.2023

Former New York Times executive Mark Thompson is expected to be named the next CEO of CNN, according to multiple reports. Thompson, who led the BBC as its director general and revitalized the Times' finances by growing its digital subscriber base, is reportedly in advanced talks to take the reins of the major cable news station. The parent company of CNN, Warner Bros. Discovery, is believed to have informed multiple senior executives of Thompson's apparent hiring. The decision to bring Thompson on board comes after the departure of Chris Licht, who left the network in June after a tumultuous tenure marked by poor ratings, dwindling profits, and talent shakeups.

Thompson, 66, would bring years of experience to the role, having previously collaborated with Warner Bros. Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav when he managed the BBC. Zaslav is said to have wanted Thompson from the early stages of the recruitment process. However, Thompson will be taking on the role at a challenging time for CNN. The network has been struggling to compete with rivals Fox News and MSNBC in ratings, and a series of controversies involving now-ousted anchors and top leadership has created instability among staff.

Despite the challenges, Thompson's appointment could coincide with the 2024 presidential election season, which has the potential to boost ratings. CNN's parent company recently announced plans to launch a dedicated CNN channel on its streaming service, Max, in an effort to transition to a more digital-focused future. Thompson will also need to address the staff morale issues that arose during Licht's tenure and stabilize the network, which has over 4,000 employees worldwide.

Thompson's track record at the New York Times suggests he may be up to the task. During his time as the newspaper's chief executive, he played a pivotal role in expanding its digital subscription business. The Times now boasts nearly 10 million subscribers, with over nine million being digital-only subscribers. Thompson implemented strategies such as hiring data scientists and engineers, focusing on mobile phone optimization, and creating visually appealing sections of the website to drive subscriptions.

While Thompson's appointment has not yet been officially confirmed, his experience and success in navigating the digital landscape could prove valuable as CNN looks to adapt to a changing media landscape and regain its competitive edge. With the presidential election on the horizon, Thompson will have an opportunity to revitalize the network and steer it towards a more prosperous future.

/ Wednesday, August 30, 2023, 3:41 AM /

themes:  New York (state)

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