CNN CEO Chris Licht apologizes to staff during internal Monday morning call
Licht told staffers he didn’t recognize himself in a 15,000-word profile story in The Atlantic that published Friday. The story documented his views on CNN’s coverage and his attempts at winning over staffers during his first year on the job.
Some CNN staffers saw the Licht magazine profile as showing poor judgment at a time when ratings are falling and employees are openly rebelling against his decision last month to air a Donald Trump town hall with hundreds of his cheering fans. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav wasn’t pleased with the profile, titled “Inside the Meltdown at CNN,” and agreed it was mishandled, according to people familiar with his thinking.
Licht said during the call he understands staffers’ frustration and is intent on earning his employees’ trust, said the people. He didn’t specifically speak to why he participated in The Atlantic profile, in which reporter Tim Alberta spent months with Licht, including joining him at the gym during a personal training session and attending backstage CNN programming rehearsals. Licht’s remarks were short, said the people, who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
A CNN spokesperson declined to comment.
Licht announced the hiring of David Leavy on Thursday as the network’s new chief operating officer. Leavy will be tasked with taking over marketing, public relations, advertising sales, facilities and other logistics.
More from CNBC
- Jamie Dimon, America’s top banker, has ‘no plans’ to run for office
- Spotify lays off 200 employees, or about 2% of its workforce
- Ivy League acceptance rates ‘may have bottomed out,’ expert says — What that means for getting in