CNN boss Chris Licht apologizes to workers

CNN Worldwide Chairman and CEO Chris Licht speaks onstage during the Warner Bros. Discovery Upfront 2022 show at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on May 18, 2022 in New York City.

Kevin Mazur | Getty Images

Beleaguered CNN CEO Chris Licht apologized to the news organization’s staff during the cable news network’s call at 9 a.m. ET Monday morning, according to people familiar with the matter.

In a 15,000-word profile story in The Atlantic published Friday, Licht told staff he didn’t recognize himself. The story documented his views on CNN reporting and his attempts to win over staffers during his first year in office.

Some CNN staffers felt that Light magazine’s profile was a bad one at a time when ratings are plummeting and staffers are openly rebelling against its decision last month to air a Donald Trump roundhouse with hundreds of his fans cheering shows judgment. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav wasn’t happy with the profile, titled “Inside the Meltdown at CNN,” and agreed it was mishandled, say people familiar with his mindset.

Licht said during the call he understands employees’ frustration and is keen to earn his employees’ trust, the people said. He didn’t say specifically why he took part in The Atlantic’s profile, where reporter Tim Alberta spent months with Light, including accompanying him during a personal training session at the gym and attending CNN program rehearsals behind the scenes. Licht’s remarks were kept brief, said the people who were not authorized to discuss the topic publicly.

A CNN spokesman declined to comment.

Licht on Thursday announced the hiring of David Leavy as the network’s new chief operating officer. Leavy will be tasked with handling marketing, public relations, advertising sales, facilities and other logistics.

The move will allow Licht to focus more on the programming that is his background. Licht helped launch “Morning Joe” on MSNBC as executive producer in 2007 and later became executive producer and showrunner of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on CBS.

WATCH: David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, talks about the company’s performance in “Squawk Box.”

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