BBC & New York Times alum Mark Thompson set for CNN, reports suggest

Former BBC chief Mark Thompson is being lined up to be the next head of CNN, according to reports.

Thompson stepped down from his most recent role atop The New York Times Co. in 2020 and now looks set to become the next boss of Warner Bros. Discovery’s flagship news brand.

He would replace Chris Licht, who departed in June after just 13 months in the role.

His ousting came just days after an article in The Atlantic raised questions about his leadership, and follows criticisms of management mis-steps, including how CNN handled a town hall interview with former US president Donald Trump, amid declining ratings for the news network.

An acting leadership team of Amy Entelis, EVP of talent & content development; Virginia Moseley, EVP of editorial; Eric Sherling, EVP of US programming; and David Leavy, commercial COO, will take charge of CNN until a new CEO is appointed.

CNN has been in turmoil over the past year, with Licht taking over as CEO and chairman in May 2022, replacing Jeff Zucker, who resigned from the post after failing to disclose a “consensual relationship” with a colleague, following almost a decade in the role.

His appointment heralded a year of change at CNN, including the closure of its much-hyped SVOD CNN+, just a month after its launch. Execs including Andrew Morse, then EVP & chief digital officer of CNN Worldwide, were among those to depart as the news network made a wave of staff cuts.

The organisation has also made changes to how it approached “premium longform content” and pared down its third-party series commissionsfollowing success with shows such as Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy and Navalny.

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