“Unfortunately, things did not work out the way we had hoped — and ultimately that’s on me. I take responsibility. Needless to say, we appreciate Chris’ efforts and dedication and wish him all the best,” Zaslav said.
Licht will be replaced for an interim period by longtime CNN executive Amy Entelis.
CNN anchor Kate Bolduan confirmed the news on-air Wednesday.
“We have news now to report on our own network — news to us here at CNN and you at home. CNN’s chairman and CEO Chris Licht is leaving the network,” Bolduan said.
The news comes less than a month after CNN hosted a widely criticized town hall with former President Donald Trump and just days after the publication of a sweeping Atlantic profile on the CEO.
Licht apologized to staffers Monday morning for the unflattering Atlantic profile, saying that he “should not be in the news, unless it is taking arrows” for CNN. He said Monday he would “fight like hell” to win over the trust of the employees at the network.
Licht’s tenure was also marked by the shuttering of the streaming service CNN+, layoffs and rock-bottom ratings. He also oversaw the rollout of “CNN This Morning” co-anchored by Don Lemon, who was fired in April.
“This job was never going to be easy, especially at a time of great disruption and transformation, and Chris poured his heart and soul into it. He has a deep love for journalism and this business and that has been evident throughout his tenure,” Zaslav said in the email.
The news of Licht’s departure was first reported by Puck.