CEO Chris Licht Is Out, CNN Exec Team Takes Over

Licht is leaving CNN after one year as chief executive.

Chris Licht stands on stage with arms out.
Chris Licht spent one year as the CEO of CNN. Getty Images

Chris Licht stepped down as the chief executive of CNN today (June 7), in the shadow of a damaging report on Licht’s leadership published by The Atlantic on June 2. David Zaslav, the CEO of CNN’s parent company Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), is looking both internally and externally for a new CNN head, he said in a staff email.

Until Zaslav names a new CEO, a team of CNN executives will lead the company. They include Amy Entelis, head of talent and content development; Virginia Moseley, head of editorial; Eric Sherling, head of U.S. programming; and David Leavy, the chief operating officer who was appointed on June 1. Leavy joined CNN from its parent company, where he worked alongside Zaslav as chief corporate affairs officer.

“We are in good hands, allowing us to take the time we need to run a thoughtful and thorough search for a new leader,” Zaslav said in the staff email.

Licht has come under fire recently at CNN. He assumed the position in May 2022, following the departure of longtime boss Jeff Zucker, who resigned after failing to disclose a relationship with a coworker. Licht drew criticism for CNN airing an interview with Donald Trump last month and for the network’s declining viewership. Since Licht took the helm, CNN has also canceled contracts with top television personalities Don Lemon, Brian Stelter and John Harwood. Employee morale fell with Licht in charge, according to The Atlantic. 

Zaslav took responsibility for the misstep in leadership, noting that Licht “poured his heart and soul” into the job, he said in the email.

Who is in charge at CNN now?

Amy Entelis

Entelis has worked at CNN since 2012. She worked first as a senior vice president and then as executive vice president. She is in charge of all on-air talent at the network, both recruiting new hosts and supporting existing ones. She has overseen more than 45 documentary series and 60 documentary films, which have won various awards for the network, according to CNN’s website.

Prior to working at CNN, Entelis worked for less than one year as the executive vice president of Good Morning AmericaWorld News TonightNightline, and 20/20. Entelis has produced a series of films and series, including Navalny, Apollo 11 and Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy. 

Virginia Moseley

Moseley holds the title of executive vice president of editorial in the U.S. She manages all breaking news content and broader coverage, including CNN’s reporting on the White House, Congress and Justice Department. Similar to Entelis, Moseley joined CNN in 2012 after a long career at ABC. She spent 18 years at ABC, where she worked as a senior political editor, executive producer of This Week and senior Washington producer of Good Morning America, where she oversaw the show’s Washington coverage. Moseley also worked for 10 years at CBS News as an off-air political reporter and as the Washington producer for CBS Evening News.

Eric Sherling

As executive vice president of U.S. programming, Sherling oversees all live, U.S.-based coverage. He first joined CNN in 2000 and worked at the network for nine years in various producer roles. After a two-year stint as executive broadcast producer for ABC’s Good Morning America, he rejoined CNN in 2011, where he has worked since. During his second stretch at CNN, he spent time directing the network’s Washington coverage. He began his producing career at local news stations WFLA-TV in Tampa, Florida and WTVQ in Lexington, Kentucky.

David Leavy

Leavy is the newest edition to the CNN group after spending 23 years at Discovery and Warner Bros. Discovery, following last year’s merger between Discovery and WarnerMedia. At Discovery, he served as the chief corporate operations officer, where he managed talent, public policy and business operations. A trusted colleague of Zaslav, he has worked alongside the executive for 17 years.

While at Discovery, he helped the company go public and launch its streaming platform, Discovery+. He also helped develop the company’s social responsibility programs, which include donations to the Covid-19 response and to stopping childhood hunger. Prior to joining Discovery, Leavy worked in communications for the Clinton White House and the National Security Council, a forum the president uses to help make decisions about national security and foreign policy.

What’s next?

It is unclear how long a search for a new executive will take Warner Bros. Discovery. During last year’s executive turnover, CNN announced Licht as the CEO within the same month Zucker left. Given that Licht has been the subject of scrutiny for some time now, Zaslav might have already begun thinking of a replacement.

CEO Chris Licht Is Out, CNN Exec Team Takes Over