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CNN CEO Chris Licht leaves network after bumpy year

After just a little over a year with the network, Licht is leaving, CNN reported Wednesday.
CNN CEO Chris Licht leaves network after bumpy year
Posted at 6:16 AM, Jun 07, 2023

CNN CEO Chris Licht is leaving the network just a year into his bumpy tenure, CNN reported, citing an editorial call. 

As of the publication time of this story, CNN’s corporate office has not confirmed Licht’s departure. 

Licht took over last spring and before even taking over, he said he would shut down the network’s CNN+ streaming service just weeks after its launch. 

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CNN reported that Licht's departure was announced to employees during an editorial call Wednesday morning.

It comes after The Atlantic published a story indicating that Licht’s mission to “restore the network’s reputation for serious journalism” had melted down. 

The story noted CNN’s declining ratings, layoffs and reduced work morale. 

“One year into the job, Licht was losing both battles. Ratings, in decline since Trump left office, had dropped to new lows,” the Atlantic reported. “Employee morale was even worse. A feeling of dread saturated the company. Licht had accepted the position with ambitions to rehabilitate the entire news industry, telling his peers that Trump had broken the mainstream media and that his goal was to do nothing less than ‘save journalism.’ But Licht had lost the confidence of his own newsroom.”

During his brief tenure, Licht fired Don Lemon, one of CNN’s highest-profile hosts. CNN also held a noteworthy town hall with former President Donald Trump, who had often chided the network. 

The Atlantic reported that Licht hoped the Trump town hall would improve credibility from the right. Instead, CNN took it on the chin as Trump called moderator Kaitlan Collins a “nasty woman” while she tried to fact-check him.

This added to the woes in employee morale, the Atlantic reported. It also did little to improve the network’s credibility among Republicans or Democrats. 

“Does CNN count that as an in-kind campaign donation?” former CBS anchor Dan Rather tweeted.

Prior to joining CNN, Licht was with CBS, where he was the showrunner for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” He also was the executive producer for “CBS This Morning.” He also spent time in cable news at MSNBC as the executive producer for “Morning Joe.”

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