Former BBC director general and New York Times CEO Mark Thompson has been appointed as Chairman and CEO of CNN Worldwide.

Thompson will report to David Zaslav, CEO of CCN parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, and will begin the job on October 9.


Mark Thompson, CNN

In his new role, Thompson will lead CNN’s strategy, operations and business units, including its global portfolio of networks, channels and programming across broadcast, streaming and digital as well as CNN’s approximately 4,000 employees worldwide. He will act as editor-in-chief, ultimately responsible for all CNN content.

Thompson will replace Chris Licht who was fired in June.

Thompson was president and CEO of The New York Times from 2012-2020, increasing paid digital subscriptions to the Times tenfold and more than doubling the company’s total digital revenues.

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He was director-general of the BBC from 2004-2012, leading the development of the BBC iPlayer, and expanded web and smartphone services.

Thompson has served as Chairman of Ancestry since December 2020. Mark Thompson was knighted for services to Media in the King’s Birthday Honours June 2023.

“There isn’t a more experienced, respected or capable executive in the news business today than Mark, and we are thrilled to have him join our team and lead CNN Worldwide into the future,” said David Zaslav, chief executive officer, Warner Bros. Discovery.

“Mark is a true innovator who has transformed for the digital age two of the world’s most respected news organizations. His strategic vision, track record in transformational leadership and sheer passion for news make him a formidable force for CNN and journalism at this pivotal time.”

“I couldn’t be more excited about the chance to join CNN after years of watching it and competing against it with a mixture of admiration and envy,” said Thompson. “The world needs accurate trustworthy news now more than ever and we’ve never had more ways of meeting that need at home and abroad. Where others see disruption, I see opportunity. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get down to work with my new colleagues to build a successful future for CNN.”

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