The group of executives who are leading CNN on an interim basis made their first comments to staffers on Thursday, vowing to make “this period as smooth as possible.”
The memo was sent out a day after Chris Licht exited as chairman and CEO, following a tumultuous, 13-month tenure. Three executives, Amy Entelis, executive vice president of talent and content development; Eric Sherling, EVP of U.S. programming; and Virginia Moseley, EVP of editorial, are serving as the acting leadership team in the interim. They are joined by David Leavy, a top lieutenant to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who was previously announced as CNN’s COO.
Chris Licht Releases Statement On CNN Exit: "I've Learned A Lot Over The Past 13 Months"
“Now it’s the time for us as the leadership of CNN to meet the moment, as you have done time and time again,” the four executives wrote in the memo. “As we jump in to lead the organization on an interim basis, we are humbled by the task before us and are committed to making this period as smooth as possible. Our goal is to remove the barriers and distractions that have made your jobs harder, refocus on the unparalleled work you are producing every day, and offer open and regular lines of communication to ensure that you feel invested and engaged in our path forward.”
The leadership team wrote that they understood “how disorienting and unsettling it can be when we become the news and these recent changes can be difficult to navigate, both personally and professionally. So, we want to take a moment to thank you for the talent and dedication you have continued to bring to work every day.”
Through Licht’s tenure, the network was the focus of media coverage of a number of incidents, including layoffs and controversial comments made by Don Lemon on CNN’s rebranded morning show. Lemon was eventually fired. More recently, the network has drawn criticism for its town hall featuring Donald Trump. After The Atlantic published a 15,000 word profile of Licht, in which he criticized the network’s Jeff Zucker-era coverage of Trump and Covid, he apologized, but many staffers said that they had lost confidence in his leadership.
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