NEW YORK, NY – CNN CEO Chris Licht announced on Wednesday that he is stepping down from his position, effective immediately – after having served only just over one year in the role – after failing to fix the left-leaning news network’s significant ratings woes.
The head of CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, thanked Licht for his brief tenure in a job that he said represented a steep uphill climb from the day he started it.
“I have great respect for Chris, personally and professionally,” Zaslav said. “The job of leading CNN was never going to be easy, especially at a time of huge disruption and transformation, and he has poured his heart and soul into it. While we know we have work to do as we look to identify a new leader, we have absolute confidence in the team we have in place and will continue to fight for CNN and its world class journalism.”
Licht replaced former CEO Jeff Zucker in 2022, and since taking over the role reports indicated that many in the organization felt he was not right for the job, leading to morale among staff and reporters cratering in recent months.
Licht had been brought in to attempt to correct the massive tailspin that CNN’s ratings have experienced in recent years, and largely proved to be unsuccessful in that endeavor.
During his tenure, he had attempted to tone down what many believed was the news networks left-leaning, extremely biased reporting, reducing the use of breaking news graphics, firing liberal hosts such as John Harwood and Brian Stelter, and reaching out to Republican lawmakers – including former President Donald Trump – in an attempt to provide more balanced coverage.
Licht often clashed with liberal media critics, and was often forced to contend with staff members who were leaking internal information to the press. He was also responsible for infamously shuttering CNN+, a subscription streaming service and online news channel, after it had been in service for only a single month.
It is currently unknown who Licht’s successor at the troubled news network will be.