CNN finds new executive to fill its president role


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Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

Following the resignations of former CNN President Jeff Zucker and Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Allison Gollust, the company has selected a new president, according to unnamed sources close to the situation.

While an official announcement about the replacement has not been made as of Feb. 28, CNN Business and The New York Times have reported that the appointment will be made public by April, but potentially as soon as next week.

Christ Licht is slated to take over the role of CNN president but with more of a focus on the news side of the WarnerMedia business rather than the sports side. Zucker used to oversee both parts of the company.

Zucker resigned on Feb. 2 after CNN became aware of his consensual but private relationship with Gollust, who was his second-in-command while they were both still with the company. The two had known and worked with each other for years, but they said their relationship changed during the pandemic.

“I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years,” Zucker said in a memo sent to staff. “I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong. As a result, I am resigning today.”

After his resignation, Gollust said she would remain in her role, but ended up resigning on Feb. 15. A statement she gave regarding her departure hinted that she was pushed out of her position.

“WarnerMedia’s statement tonight is an attempt to retaliate against me and change the media narrative in the wake of their disastrous handling of the last two weeks,” she wrote in her statement. “It is deeply disappointing that after spending the past nine years defending and upholding CNN’s highest standards of journalistic integrity, I would be treated this way as I leave. But I do so with my head held high, knowing that I gave my heart and soul to working with the finest journalists in the world.”

Licht is currently the executive producer and showrunner of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and the executive vice president of special programming at ViacomCBS. He led the show in a more political and current events-focused angle, which ultimately resulted in much higher ratings.

He also worked on “CBS This Morning” from 2011 to 2016 and is responsible for bringing on popular hosts Gayle King and Charlie Host. Licht also brought a more laid-back atmosphere to the show.

Before working for CBS, Licht worked for MSNBC, where he co-created “Morning Joe,” a popular morning show with host Joe Scarborough.

The new president is set to take over around April, when CNN’s parent company WarnerMedia finishes merging with Discovery Inc.