CNN Chairman and CEO Chris Licht on Wednesday warned staffers that there would be “noticeable change” to the network that will affect employees, budgets and projects.
In a memo, Licht wrote, “There is widespread concern over the global economic outlook, and we must factor that risk into our long-term planning. All this together will mean noticeable change to this organization. That, by definition, is unsettling. These changes will not be easy because they will affect people, budgets, and projects.
“We will be strategic in this process and will minimize the impact on our core newsgathering operation and digital, both of which have already executed smart changes,” he wrote. “Let me be clear: I will not allow these changes to affect our position as the world’s leading news source, and we will continue to invest in growth areas. When we conclude this process, CNN will still be the largest, most-respected newsgathering organization in the world. We will continue to cover any story, anywhere, any time–with
more resources than anyone else. Full stop.”
His note comes as parent company Warner Bros. Discovery said in a filing this wee that it expected to incur up to $1.1 billion in organization restructuring costs, including “severance, retention, relocation, and other related costs.” That is expected to mean substantial additional layoffs across the company.
Licht wrote in the memo that the aim “is to have most of these decisions made by the end of the year so we can start 2023 feeling settled and prepared for the future.”
He noted that CNN already restructured its digital team and “are investing significantly in the product.” He also noted changes to its morning and primetime lineups, which include a revitalized morning show that will launch on Nov. 1 and Jake Tapper’s move into primetime, at least through the midterms. None of the changes so far have meant hiring pricey outside talent, but relying on on-air personalities like Tapper, Don Lemon, Kaitlan Collins and Popy Harlow, who already are familiar to viewers.
“We have also begun to reduce or eliminate areas that aren’t core to our mission,” Licht wrote. “All these moves are designed to keep CNN essential across platforms to ensure that wherever and however people get their news, they must have CNN.”
(Excerpt) Read more in: Deadline