A day after hinting it would announce a new chief digital officer shortly, CNN went ahead and broke the news Thursday morning.
Athan Stephanopoulos has been named evp and chief digital officer of CNN Worldwide, where he will report directly to Chris Licht. In this role, Stephanopoulos will oversee the digital worldwide business, including editorial, product, technology, business ops and innovation strategies.
Stephanopoulos joins CNN after more than eight years at NowThis, the popular digital news outlet catering to Gen-Z and millennial consumers. In his role as president, Stephanopoulos oversaw all operations of the brand – including editorial, revenue, product and technology strategy, audience development and data insights. He helped guide the brand through its acquisition and integration into Group Nine Media. Most recently, he again guided the brand during its integration into Vox Media following its acquisition of Group Nine in early 2022.
Prior to NowThis, Stephanopoulos was the Founder and CEO of a Cliptamatic, a social video distribution platform that was acquired by NowThis in 2014.
Stephanopoulos will begin his new role November 14 and be based out of CNN’s New York bureau.
In addition to the Stephanopoulos hire, Wendy Brundige, who was the interim CNN chief digital officer during the search, has been named svp of CNN Digital Worldwide. In this new role, Brundige will oversee business operations, commerce and audio, in additional to continuing her management and oversight of the global digital video team. Brundige has been at CNN for eight years, most recently serving as svp of global video for CNN Digital. Prior to CNN, Brundige was Bloomberg TV’s West Coast bureau chief and executive producer of Bloomberg West.
“I am thrilled Athan is joining CNN. His vision for digital journalism, alongside his leadership and business acumen, is exactly what we need to build CNN’s digital future,” Licht said in a statement. “I’m also pleased to announce the promotion of Wendy Brundige. Wendy’s editorial instincts, operations and business expertise and deep knowledge of CNN and its people make her a key leader in this organization. Together they will propel the number one digital news platform in the world into new heights.”
Chief digital officer is going to be a critical role in the CNN-Licht era. CNBC’s Alex Sherman reported earlier this week that Licht wants to ramp up investment in CNN.com. The company will also be upgrading its CMS and its digital video player, which will bring a different look to CNN.com, an endeavor Stephanopoulos will undoubtedly be tasked with leading.