CNN on Wednesday announced that Alex MacCallum is returning to the network as executive vice president of digital products and services. She takes over for Athan Stephanopoulos, who stepped down as CNN’s Chief Digital Officer earlier this year.
In this role, MacCallum will be focused on overseeing and spearheading CNN’s suite of digital products that serve and engage millions of people globally every day. Based at CNN’s offices in New York, MacCallum will start work on March 4.
MacCallum was most recently with The Washington Post, serving as Chief Revenue Officer overseeing subscriptions, partnerships, and advertising.
MacCallum previously spent 14 months at CNN (April 2021-June 2022), joining as head of product and general manager of direct-to-consumer, which became CNN+. She was named CNN Digital interim chief in her final months following Andrew Morse’s exit during the volatile months stemming from the integration of WarnerMedia and Discovery, Inc. and the end of CNN+.
During her first stint at CNN, MacCallum led cross-functional teams to the launch of CNN+, a direct-to-consumer streaming service, and restructured the core CNN.com product teams to serve its users better.
Before joining CNN, she spent eight years at the New York Times, including as head of product for Standalone Products, a New York Times portfolio including Cooking, Games, Wirecutter, Audio, and Kids.
Hiring MacCallum represents the first significant personnel move made by CNN CEO Mark Thompson. According to The Wall Street Journal, Thompson also shook up CNN’s newsgathering operations, creating one unit that will serve its TV, streaming, and digital platforms. A new division tasked with exploring growth opportunities would also be created as a result of this restructuring.
In an interview with the WSJ, Thompson said he was looking for ways to monetize CNN’s products potentially through subscriptions. One area of interest is the vertical video format, which is popular with the younger demographics.
He told the WSJ that if CNN “can figure out a way of doing that and make it a high quality, differentiated product,” people should be willing to pay for it.