Jim Walton Resigning as President of CNN - Broadcasting & Cable

Jim Walton Resigning as President of CNN

Will step down at end of year after 10 years leading network
Author:
Publish date:

CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton is stepping down at the
end of the year after 10 years at the helm of the cable news network, he said
in a note to staff Friday.

He will continue in his current role overseeing CNN/U.S., CNN International, HLN and CNN Digital until Dec. 31 and Turner
Broadcasting System CEO Phil Kent will lead the search for his replacement.

The management shakeup comes after CNN's primetime ratings hit a
20-year low in May, which has been a
source of concern for Kent and other senior management at Time Warner.
Walton
said in the memo that he had been talking to Kent for "some time" about
"wanting to make a change."

"CNN needs new thinking. That starts with a new leader
who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one
who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it through,"
Walton said.

His exit is not unexpected given the channel's ratings woes, and a source at CNN says Walton's resignation was not voluntary, but driven
by Time Warner management needing a response to investors when it releases
second-quarter earnings on Aug. 1.

CNN has made small tweaks to its lineup in recent months,
such as cancelling
John King, USA
and changing up its early morning anchors, but
sources at the network suggested a change in leadership was needed to turn
around the struggling channel. Because of the time required for TV development, announcing Walton's
exit now also means his successor could presumably start before the end
of the year and work to get new programming on shortly after the
November elections.

Walton has been a part of CNN almost since its founding,
joining the network in 1981 as a video journalist. From 1996-2000 he was
president of the now-defunct CNN/Sports Illustrated channel before being named
to his current post in 2003.

Walton's note to staff below:

After more than 30 years at this company and nearly 10 years
as the leader of this great news organization, I have decided to leave my role
at CNN on December 31, 2012. 

For some time, I've been talking with Phil Kent about
wanting to make a change, and he supports my decision. I've told Phil that I
will cooperate with any transition timeline that he and Time Warner want to
implement.  Phil requested that I work out the year and be available after
that if needed, which I've agreed to do. I am proud of what we have accomplished together over these
last 10 years - innovative programming, the development of great talent in
front of and behind the cameras, expansion in digital and mobile, significant
investment and expansion in international coverage, financial success and, most
importantly, great and trusted journalism.  Thank you for the role you
have played in our successes.CNN needs new thinking.  That starts with a new leader
who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one
who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it
through.  And I'm ready for a change.  I have interests to explore
and I want to give myself time to do it.The next few months will be filled with election news and
other important events that will require all of our focus to report the news
with the quality and expertise the world expects of CNN.  I look forward
to working alongside each of you, as I have over the past 30-plus years, to do
just that.

Jim

Related