In a recent development, Sir Mark Thompson, the former BBC chief, is reportedly being considered as the next leader of CNN, the struggling cable news network.
Thompson, aged 66, boasts an impressive background, having previously served as the chief executive of the New York Times, making him a respected figure in the realm of US media.
A Potential Successor for CNN’s Leadership
According to the Semafor news platform, Sir Mark Thompson is emerging as a strong contender to take over the role previously held by Chris Licht, who was dismissed in June following a tumultuous 14-month tenure.
The network has been under the temporary leadership of a group of experienced network leaders from Warner Bros.
Discovery since Licht’s departure.
A Career of Accomplishments in Media
Thompson’s journey in the media industry commenced as a production trainee at the BBC back in 1979.
He swiftly ascended the ranks, eventually overseeing the editing of prominent programs like Panorama and the Nine O’Clock News.
His trajectory culminated in becoming the 14th director general of the BBC in May 2004, a position he occupied until 2012, when he transitioned to the New York Times, where he led the newspaper until 2020.
Notably, he also held the position of CEO at Channel 4 and presently serves as the chairman of the board at Ancestry, a genealogy company based in Utah.
Reimagining CNN’s Future
A source within CNN, as revealed to the New York Post, emphasized Thompson’s transformative track record at the New York Times, where he successfully shifted the focus from a print-centered approach to a more digital-oriented strategy.
This background aligns well with the network’s current needs.
The source stated, “It’s not a programming job, we need someone to come in and rethink how we approach things.”
Thompson’s Perspective on the State of News
In a 2021 interview, Thompson candidly expressed his views on the state of news broadcasting.
He remarked, “News feels like a particularly old-fashioned style of broadcasting aimed entirely at older audiences.
I live in the US and [TV news] seems completely unchanged since the 1980s.
I think it is in dead trouble.”
As of now, Sir Mark Thompson is reportedly spending time at his residence in Maine and has not provided any comments on the matter.
Discovery, the current owner of CNN, has also refrained from making any official statements regarding the potential leadership change.