Jeff Zucker ‘Doing a Terrific Job’ Says AT&T Exec

By Chris Ariens Comment

More than two months after AT&T senior evp John Stankey visited Jeff Zucker at CNN HQ, the cable news chief is finally getting the assurance he’d asked for about his future, post-merger.

Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo reports that when Stankey “arrived at the Time Warner Center on August 10 for a meeting with Zucker in the CNN chief’s fifth-floor office, adjacent to the newsroom, Zucker had a request, according to several people familiar with the meeting. He asked for an assurance that AT&T would come out publicly with a show of support once the deal closed. Stankey, these sources said, agreed.

“We don’t comment upon anyone’s employment at a company we don’t yet own. But, as it relates to CNN, it’s clearly a great organization, they are having a great year, and Jeff Zucker is doing a terrific job,” said Stankey in a statement to Pompeo.

But change will be coming to CNN and other Time Warner properties, including a new name for the unit (still under wraps) which hasn’t included Time for several years. From Pompeo:

Another executive expressed concern about “whether there would be a lot more hierarchy and bureaucracy and a limitation on creative freedom.” This person also noted that “it remains to be seen if the people doing the jobs in that arena will be able to continue to do so with the level of autonomy” they’re accustomed to. A third executive at the company told me, “The honest truth is that nobody knows, and until AT&T and John Stankey and his team are in place and see what they’ve purchased, no one will really know the fate of any part of the organization.”