HLN Boss Albie Hecht Exits: Read CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker’s Internal Memo

Longtime CNN executive Ken Jautz will oversee HLN on an interim basis

Last Updated: November 24, 2015 @ 9:12 AM

HLN head Albie Hecht has left the cable news network, CNN worldwide president Jeff Zucker announced Tuesday.

Ken Jautz, a longtime CNN executive, will serve as the interim leader until a permanent replacement is named.

Albie Hecht has decided it makes sense for him to move on. With the support of an incredible team at the network, he has done a terrific job running HLN. And it hasn’t been easy. His vision, creativity, persistence and commitment have been unwavering and he has been instrumental to HLN’s progress,” Zucker wrote in an internal memo to staff.

“HLN is in good hands,” Zucker continued. “Ken Jautz, who knows HLN as well as almost anyone at CNN, will step in on an interim basis to make sure we don’t miss a beat. And there is an exceptionally talented group of people who remain at the helm and throughout the organization that I know will continue to keep HLN strong.”

Hecht, who was hired in 2013, released a statement reading, “I am extremely proud of the transformation we have accomplished and I want to thank all of the talented people I’ve had the privilege of working with at HLN and especially thank Jeff and John Martin for all of their support.”

The announcement came as Zucker praised HLN for rising to become the second-fastest growing network in all of cable, with 2015 bringing its highest share of the cable news market in the CNN sister network’s history.

“I now believe that by driving HLN’s programming during the daytime and overnight hours closer to CNN’s, and by utilizing a much stronger library of content that has been built in the last three years, we can take that success to even greater heights,” Zucker added.

Hecht spearheaded the network’s rebranding from a “crime time” network to one built on the pulse of social media. While speaking to TheWrap nearly a year ago for an “Office with a View,” he said the network found its true voice “by making content for social first.”

“Right now, young people aren’t watching a lot of TV and they’re not watching HLN–that’s a pretty big hump to get over,” Hecht said. “What we want to do is craft a story for social first–Instagram or YouTube–we want to put it out, collect the best ones on our digital sites, and then we want to push that back to television. Television now is almost our third screen, not our second screen. That’s how we’re looking at it right now.”

Read the full memo below.

I want to share some news about HLN.

We continue to see great progress – and many of you have heard me talk about it recently.  HLN is the second-fastest growing network in all of cable, and this year had its highest share of the cable news market in its history.  Morning Express has surged to the number two spot in cable morning news.  The Daily Share, the social lifestyle video network that launched less than a year ago, is number one in engagement among cable news and its competitive set.  And the prime time lineup features some of the biggest personalities in cable, and they are integral to HLN’s success story.

As we look towards 2016, I now believe that by driving HLN’s programming during the daytime and overnight hours closer to CNN’s, and by utilizing a much stronger library of content that has been built in the last three years, we can take that success to even greater heights.

In light of that, Albie Hecht has decided it makes sense for him to move on.  With the support of an incredible team at the network, he has done a terrific job running HLN.  And it hasn’t been easy.  His vision, creativity, persistence and commitment have been unwavering and he has been instrumental to HLN’s progress.

HLN is in good hands.  Ken Jautz, who knows HLN as well as almost anyone at CNN, will step in on an interim basis to make sure we don’t miss a beat.  And there is an exceptionally talented group of people who remain at the helm and throughout the organization that I know will continue to keep HLN strong.

I want to thank Albie for being a terrific partner to me, and the team at HLN.  What we have accomplished would not have been possible without him and he will be missed.

Jeff

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