CNN Ousts PR Execs Behind Disastrous Chris Licht Atlantic Profile

Matt Dornic and Kris Coratti Kelly were fired hours after the CEO was dismissed Wednesday

Matt Dornic and Kris Coratti Kelly of CNN PR
Matt Dornic and Kris Coratti Kelly (Courtesy CNN)

Top leaders of CNN’s PR team who oversaw The Atlantic’s disastrous profile of Chris Licht have been fired, TheWrap has confirmed. EVP and global head of communications and marketing Kris Coratti Kelly and head of strategic communications Matt Dornic were among those ousted.

According to an individual familiar with the decision, the network began cleaning out its communications team Wednesday, just hours after the embattled CEO exited amid plunging ratings and growing discontent within his news staff.

Corratti Kelly had joined CNN just 11 months ago after serving as The Washington Post’s communications chief and general manager of Washington Post Live. She stepped into the role after Allison Gollust left the company as the organization investigated former anchor Chris Cuomo’s firing. As for Dornic, he served as a contributor to news platform FishbowlDC, which no longer exists. CNN hired Dornic on as the company’s public relations group, overseeing the channel’s digital teams, including CNN Mobile and

Licht’s firing comes about a year after CNN brought him into the role of CEO after Jeff Zucker made his departure. He was handpicked by Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav, who announced Licht’s termination during an editorial call. The decision was made effective immediately, according to a morning release from WBD. Licht’s exit occurs right after a piece from The Atlantic writer Tim Alberta, who painted the former exec as a boastful “badass” who is obsessed with his predecessor Jeff Zucker, while the CNN staff’s faith in him continued to slip away. His short stint at CNN was also muddied by sinking ratings following Donald Trump’s town hall and his staff’s lack of confidence in him as a leader.

“I have great respect for Chris, personally and professionally,” Zaslav wrote. “The job of leading CNN was never going to be easy, especially at a time of huge disruption and transformation, and he has poured his heart and soul into it. While we know we have work to do as we look to identify a new leader, we have absolute confidence in the team we have in place and will continue to fight for CNN and its world class journalism.”