Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide, announced this morning in a memo to his staff that Jon Klein, CNN/U.S. president, is leaving the company effective immediately. “Jon has made important contributions to the CNN story,” Mr. Walton wrote. There were no reasons given for his departure.
Mr. Walton also announced a few others changes at the executive level. Ken Jautz, who has been running Headline News, will take over for Mr. Klein. “Ken is a rarity — a working journalist who is an even better news executive,” Mr. Walton wrote. Brian Stelter notes that under Mr. Jautz’s leadership, HLN added more opinionated programming with hosts like Nancy Grace and Joy Behar. The network is also going to add a managing editor to help coordinate CNN’s journalism better across platforms.
Here’s the memo:
To: CNN Staff
From: Jim Walton
I have some news to share with you about our executive leadership and
how our programming teams are going to work together to ensure we’re
prominently featuring CNN’s quality journalism across our multiple
platforms. Two accomplished CNN executives whom most of you know and
have worked with are stepping up to new roles, effective immediately.
A third senior leader will be brought on in the role of managing
editor to help leverage our newsgathering resources across multiple
platforms in a more collaborative way.
Ken Jautz is moving from HLN to CNN/U.S. to run the network as its
executive vice president. Ken is a rarity-a working journalist who is
an even better news executive. The reinvention of HLN is the latest
in a string of successes he has led at CNN. Ken has launched, made
profitable and turned around businesses for our news organization,
Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner literally around the world. To
his new assignment he brings deep experience as a reporter, both
overseas and in the US; a CNN-wide perspective; and relationships from
multiple positions within Turner. Most importantly, he has a
demonstrated ability to collaborate and lead strong teams, and a
track-record of programming successes.
Scot Safon assumes the executive vice president role at HLN and will
run the network. Scot and HLN are in my view an inspired combination.
He is an innovator; HLN is an ideal news and information laboratory.
He is an expert in audience targeting and development; HLN’s audience
is young, engaged and growing. And he is a charismatic leader who is
passionate about journalism, storytelling and our brand. As Chief
Marketing Officer of CNN Worldwide, Scot has led a dynamic team that
has done award-winning marketing, advertising and promotion for CNN,
HLN, CNN International and CNN.com.
Additionally, to put our multi-platform advantages more fully to work,
we will be naming an executive vice president and managing editor of
CNN Worldwide to lead collaboration across all platforms and elevate
CNN’s unique journalism and analysis. A managing editor, with full
access to our journalism resources and my mandate to shape and connect
our newsgathering across networks, shows, and websites, is a new role
for the organization. Ultimately, the goal is that the kind of
front-page reporting and analysis that captures a news event,
translates its meaning and shapes the dialogue about the story will
continue to emerge in even more prominent and more accessible ways to
CNN’s audiences. The search for this person is currently underway.
Our colleague Jon Klein is leaving CNN. Jon’s six years as head of
CNN/U.S. are reflected in the quality of our coverage of signal news
events during his tenure: the tsunami in South Asia, Hurricane
Katrina, the 2008 election cycle and the Haiti earthquake, as well as
shows like Anderson Cooper 360, The Situation Room and Fareed Zakaria
GPS, all of which bear his imprint. Jon has made important
contributions to the CNN story, and he leaves with our respect and
friendship, and with my sincere thanks.
We are going into a busy fall and winter with November elections and
two new prime time shows on CNN. Ken, Scot and the new managing
editor will impact these and all of the other events ahead, as will
you. My expectation is that our leaders and our new operating
discipline will put CNN’s advantages to work where they matter most:
for our audience. Our coverage will be relevant and resonant; will
have meaning for millions of people around the world; and it will
reflect the qualities that CNN is rightfully famous for: commitment to
truth, respect for facts, service to no political agenda and passion
for journalism and analysis done right and well.