Jim Walton, the president of CNN Worldwide, has resigned. He said that CNN needs new thinking and leadership and will leave the Turner owned news channel at the end of the year. Walton has been in charge of CNN for a decade and announced his decision to step down on Friday.
“For some time, I’ve been talking with [Turner Broadcasting CEO] Phil Kent about wanting to make a change, and he supports my decision,” he said in an email to staff. “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.” While CNN has been performing well internationally, it has struggled in recent times in its domestic US market, recording some of its worst-ever ratings in its two most recent quarters. Kent will lead the search for Walton’s successor.
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes paid tribute to Walton. “When Jim Walton assumed the presidency of CNN in 2003, it was underperforming and earnings were in serious decline. Since then, he and CNN have tripled earnings, doubled margin and delivered annual growth of 15%,” he said. “I respect him personally and professionally and support the decision he and Phil Kent have reached.”
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