CNN shocked the media world on Tuesday when it named former New York Times CEO Mark Thompson as the network’s new chief executive. The move marks a major shakeup at the network, which had been led by Jeff Zucker for the last decade.
Thompson, who served for seven years at the helm of the Times, brings an incredible wealth of experience to the role. He has a long record of reshaping businesses in the media landscape as the Times moved towards an online-focused model. At the same time, he also understands the importance of print journalism, and was instrumental in the development of the paper’s digital division.
Thompson’s appointment could signal a major shift in the way CNN approaches its news and content. As the Times noted in its announcement, he has a reputation for integrating the unique strengths of both print and digital platforms, while delivering journalistic excellence and unmatched reach to audiences around the globe.
The move is especially notable, given the challenges facing the traditional media industry. As viewers increasingly flock to streaming services — particularly those like Netflix that are offering exclusive content — CNN and other major TV news outlets have had to rethink their strategies.
Thompson’s background in both print and digital operation, as well as his leadership qualities, could be extremely valuable to CNN. With his wealth of experience, the network can look to gain an advantage over its competitors and evolve its strategy to remain relevant in the 21st century.