CNN has found its next CEO.
Mark Thompson, the former chief executive of The New York Times, is expected to take over Warner Bros. Discovery’s cable news business, someone familiar with the matter confirms.
WBD is expected to make his hire official this week. A spokesperson for WBD had not responded to a request for comment as of writing.
Thompson helped turn around the Times during a critical juncture for that storied news brand when he took over in 2012, helping it adapt to a rapidly changing digital media environment. He stepped down from his role at the Times in 2020, with Meredith Kopit Levien succeeding him.
But he is a TV executive by trade, having previously served as the director general of the BBC, and before that the chief executive of Channel 4 in the U.K.
The CNN job will test both skillsets, as WBD seeks to bring the storied TV brand into a digital universe. Earlier this month the company announced plans to stream CNN programming on Max, the company’s streaming service, but there is clearly more to do. Thompson’s name was first floated for the CNN gig by Semafor last week, and Puck named him as WBD’s final choice on Tuesday.
At CNN Thompson succeeds Chris Licht, who was ousted in June after a tumultuous year at the helm of the company. Since that time CNN has been led by an interim team of COO David Leavy; Amy Entelis, the longtime head of talent and content development; head of editorial Virginia Moseley; and programming chief Eric Sherling.
It is not immediately clear what will happen to those top executives.
That interim leadership also overhauled CNN’s schedule earlier this month, solidifying its primetime lineup and making tweaks elsewhere. It is not clear whether Thompson will focus much of his time on CNN’s TV programming, or on its business strategy moving forward.