CNN CEO Mark Thompson Tells Staffers They Are ‘Still Nowhere Near Ready for the Future’

The exec starts his first official day by addressing network staff in a prerecorded video message

New CNN boss Mark Thompson wearing a black jacket and pink shirt, speaking onstage at a conference.
CNN CEO Mark Thompson (Getty Images)

CNN’s new CEO and chairman Mark Thompson officially started his role with the network on Monday by addressing staff in an internal video message, saying that the organization has a long way to go in order to be “ready for the future.”

The news network’s chief executive addressed CNN staffers in a five-minute prerecorded message saying that “it’s one platform in a growing number of platforms,” according to CNN’s Oliver Darcy

“TV is also too dominant at CNN and digital, too marginal,” Thompson said. “Despite some recent encouraging developments like the launch of CNN Max, this company is still nowhere near ready for the future.”

Thompson told staffers to “not second guess ourselves or get distracted by complicated arguments about balance or whataboutism or false equivalency.”

“Let’s cover political news proportionally and fairly but not be frightened of our own shadows,” he continued. 

The new CNN boss also praised staff as “a group of tough and amazingly focused and enthusiastic people,” who “still believe in CNN and its mission 100%, people who want to get on with the future, and so do I.”

Thompson was appointed as CEO in late August and officially assumed his position on Monday. He a 40-year-plus news veteran, known for successfully transforming the New York Times into a digital force.

Thompson has reportedly made an effort to become acquainted with his staff prior to officially assuming the top role at the network. In recent weeks, he has been meeting with staffers at CNN offices to get a sense of the newsroom’s atmosphere. 

CNN is still reeling from a tumultuous year after former CEO Chris Licht was ousted in June. Licht’s tenure was marred with poorly received programming decisions, plummeting ratings and a disastrous town hall with former President Donald Trump. 

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