After turning around the cable business channel, Jonathan Wald made news by walking away from CNBC. Will it change the network’s fortunes?
Yesterday morning, CNBC president Mark Hoffman announced in a memo to staff that senior vice-president for business news, Jonathan Wald, would be leaving the network. In the ensuing coverage and chatter, the word that seemed to come up again and again was "surprise"—surprise that seemingly amiable negotiations to extend the contract of the man credited with revitalizing CNBC could come to such an impasse, and surprise that an executive would leave the financial network during the worst economic crisis in almost a century—and the best financial story.
Hoffman’s memo said he was "disappointed" that the two could not agree on terms of a new agreement—Wald’s contract was set to expire on March 31—and that they’d been having "months of conversations" trying to work it out. For his part, Wald told the Daily Beast: "They wanted me to stay, I wanted to stay—we just couldn’t in the end work out a deal we could both be happy with."
Here was the source of the collective eyebrow raise. Is it really that hard to retain your top executive in a recession during the best run in your network’s 20-year history? When he doesn’t even have another job lined up?