The Chris Licht Era at CNN Starts Today

By A.J. Katz 

One of the most visible faces at the scores of events surrounding the 2022 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Chris Licht finally got down to business Monday, his first day as chairman and CEO of CNN.

Licht sent a day-one memo to staffers Monday, obtained by AxiosSara Fischer, where he first acknowledges the job done by interim bosses Amy Entelis, Michael Bass and Ken Jautz. Licht says he’s “incredibly grateful for their leadership, and will continue to lean on them as I seek to learn more about our global organization,” adding, “They have met every situation with grit and professionalism and—most importantly—they have worked tirelessly to keep our people safe.”

So, what can CNN staff expect from Licht? “I will be a very engaged consumer of our content, but I’m not here to get into the weeds of the day-to-day editorial decision making,” he writes. This seems like a departure from Jeff Zucker’s leadership style. Licht’s predecessor was highly-engaged with the day-to-day editorial at CNN. For instance, it isn’t known whether Licht will be leading a daily editorial call, something Zucker did for years.

“I am here to set expectations, make the tough calls, fight for the resources you need and remove any obstacles that keep you from doing your best work.”

Licht then dove a little deeper, writing: “Sadly too many people have lost trust in the news media. I think we can be a beacon in regaining that trust by being an organization that exemplifies the best characteristics in journalism: fearlessly speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo, questioning ‘group-think’ and educating viewers and readers with straightforward facts and insightful commentary, while always being respectful of differing viewpoints. First and foremost, we should and we will be advocates for truth.”

Licht’s first global town hall as CNN chairman and CEO will take place Thursday at 11 a.m. ET, where he says he will share more of his vision with the company.

“I look forward to meeting and working with all of you and am genuinely excited to start this journey together.”

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