UPDATED: Kris Coratti Kelly’s hiring as CNN’s new head of global communications was among a serious of announcements made by CNN chairman and CEO Chris Licht as he filled out his leadership team.
In a memo to staffers, Licht said that Michael Bass would continue to serve as executive vice president of programming for CNN, while Virginia Moseley would serve as executive vice president for editorial for CNN U.S., an expanded role that includes the digital news team. Moseley’s husband is Thomas Nides, the U.S. ambassador to Israel. The network has previously noted that Moseley oversees domestic newsgathering and that she would recuse herself if a Middle East story conflicts with a U.S. event.
Amy Entelis will continue as executive vice president of talent and content development, and Ken Jautz will stay as executive vice president of news. Sam Feist will continue as senior vice president and Washington bureau chief.
Licht also announced Johnita Due as executive vice president of integrity and inclusion, a newly created position.
He also wrote that they are undertaking a worldwide search for chief digital officer, after the departure of Andrew Morse in April. Wendy Brundige is serving as interim chief digital officer.
Licht also said that James Anderson, who has been interim head of communications, has decided to leave the company. Also departing is Calvin Sims, who has been executive vice president of standards and practices. His group will now report to Due.
Licht’s full memo is below.
PREVIOUSLY: Kris Coratti Kelly is joining CNN Worldwide as executive vice president and head of global communications.
Her hiring was among a series of leadership roles announced on Wednesday by Chris Licht, who became chairman and CEO of CNN in May.
Coratti Kelly will lead CNN’s brand strategy and oversee media relations and publicity, creative marketing, events and brand initiatives, as well as employee and external communications. She’ll report to Licht.
Coratti Kelly, who has been chief communications officer for The Washington Post, is taking on a share of the duties once held by Allison Gollust, who departed in February amid the network’s investigation of former CNN head Jeff Zucker and the firing of primetime host Chris Cuomo.
In a statement, Licht said that Coratti Kelly “is one of the most dynamic, creative and respected executives in her field with an incredible track record of success. I am completely confident in her ability to support and advance CNN’s core values of trust, transparency and accountability in journalism.”
Coratti Kelly will start in her new role next month and will be based in New York. At the Post, where she has been since 2006, she also has been general manager of Washington Post Live, and led the publication’s expansion into film and television. She also was responsible for creating the Washington Post Press Freedom Partnership following the murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
She is one of Licht’s key hires since taking over.
Coratti Kelly said in a statement, “CNN is one of the most consequential and trusted news organizations in the world. I am thrilled to join the team and help deliver on its vision to grow CNN’s reach and reputation as the world’s leading source for news and information.”
The New York Times and Variety first reported on the hires and re-appointments.
This post was corrected to reflect Andrew Morse’s previous role as chief digital officer for CNN.
Licht’s full memo:
I’d like to share some exciting news with you all about our new management structure and the people I’ve asked to help lead this great organization.
First, thank you for your patience as I’ve made the rounds getting to know many of you. I’ve now met more than 1,000 CNN’ers from around the world and have been consistently impressed by the passion and tenacity that you bring to work every day. Taking time to see that firsthand and better understand this huge company has been critical to my decision-making when thinking about a leadership team that can best serve the needs of the business, our audiences, and all of you. In these meetings, I learned more about the commitment of our employees around the world, and the exceptional work that continues to make our brand the envy of the industry. With all of that said, I’m pleased to share the executive leadership team of CNN Worldwide.
Michael Bass will continue to serve as EVP of Programming for CNN US. Michael’s steady hand has led CNN through many pivotal stories and moments – he is loyal to the brand and its mission, and is an exceptional leader and fantastic journalist. He will continue to lead the 9am editorial call and will oversee programming for the CNN US networks.
Virginia Moseley will now serve as EVP of Editorial for CNN US, now including the Digital news team managed by Rachel Smolkin. We are fortunate to continue to have Virginia’s extensive knowledge of newsgathering in an expanded role that will further unify our resources and coverage across platforms. Virginia will now be based in New York City.
Amy Entelis will continue to serve as EVP of Talent and Content Development. Under Amy’s leadership, CNN Original Series and CNN Films have flourished – becoming a hallmark of our portfolio and bringing us new audiences, making them a critical element of our brand. Her vision for the future of this part of our business is incredibly valuable to all of us. I look forward to continuing to harness her talent expertise as we plot our next chapter.
Ken Jautz will continue to serve as EVP of News. Ken has more than a third of our employees worldwide under his purview in Operations and Production. His leadership has been crucial to our organization for decades, with a tenure spanning the last 34 years – and that experience will be even more pivotal in meeting the new operational challenges with our integration with WBD. Ken will also continue to be the executive leader of HLN.
Johnita Due will now serve as EVP of Integrity and Inclusion. This is a newly created position that taps into Johnita’s extensive experience as news content attorney to CNN and her decades-long leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In this role, she will ensure that our voice on linear, digital, and in sales, maintains the integrity of our pristine brand. Johnita has led many unique inclusion initiatives, and I have asked her to continue to nurture diverse talent and help them thrive within our ranks. The Standards & Practices and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion teams will both report to her. Her DEI leadership role will continue to span across news and sports.
As a result of this new structure, Calvin Sims will be leaving the organization, and Calvin’s team will now report to Johnita. CNN weathered many storms during Calvin’s tenure, each of which he expertly guided us through. I want to thank Calvin for his talent and leadership. Please join me in wishing him the best in his next endeavor.
Chris Marlin will serve as Group EVP of Strategy and Business Operations. As you have heard me say, Chris is charged with finding new revenue and optimization opportunities across the business, as well as aligning our resources, globally. In this role, he will develop the strategic, operational, and business frameworks that expand our business opportunities and keep us on track to drive results and performance. He will also collaborate closely with WBD on projects with broader reach.
Robin Garfield will remain Chief Research Officer and EVP of Program and Content Strategy, leading the research and scheduling teams. She will report to Chris Marlin. Research is essential to our business, and this realignment will serve to sharpen our broader business goals in a meaningful way.
Kris Coratti Kelly is joining CNN as EVP and Chief Communications Officer. Coming to us from The Washington Post, Kristine has had an impressive career and background in journalism. She actually got her start right here at CNN. In this role, Kristine will lead our global communications and brand strategy and oversee our CNN Worldwide PR and communications teams, as well as global marketing. Rick Lewchuk, SVP of Creative Marketing, will report to her. Rick will continue to be a driving force in our global marketing efforts, and I want to thank him for maintaining our presence during this transition. Please join me in welcoming Kristine back to CNN. She will start on August 15 and be based in New York City.
With Kristine’s announcement, I want to extend my thanks to James Anderson, who has served as interim head of communications. As David Leavy shared back in May, James has decided to leave the company after an impressive 17-year tenure. We could not have asked for a better steward during the last several months of transition, and I sincerely appreciate James’ flexibility and guidance along the way.
Ramon Escobar will serve as SVP of Talent Recruitment & Development in an expanded role that will include overseeing our contributors. Ramon is exceptional at what he does; it is imperative to me that we have his voice at the table. Ramon will continue working closely with Amy Entelis in his expanded role and will now report to me.
Mike McCarthy will continue to serve as EVP and GM of CNNI. You’ve heard me say we need CNNI now more than ever – and Mike’s decades of experience and stalwart leadership will continue to be impactful to our newsgathering teams around the world.
Rani Raad will continue to serve as President of CNN Commercial Worldwide. Rani has been able to find revenue even in challenging times, which is no easy feat; I’m grateful to have him on the team.
Lisa Reeves will continue to serve as SVP of Talent Negotiations and Labor Relations. There is no one better in the business than Lisa. We are lucky to have her.
Sam Feist will continue to serve as SVP & Washington Bureau Chief, reporting to me. His unique role managing key relationships in Washington and overseeing the bureau’s operation is essential to this network during these times. Few have a heart for those three red letters like Sam does.
Filling the position of Chief Digital Officer is of paramount importance to me, and we have a nationwide search underway to find a permanent leader. Until we do, Wendy Brundige will remain interim Chief Digital Officer. I really appreciate Wendy and her leadership through this transition.
We also have leaders critical to our mission that are shared across news and sports, includingEllen Russ, who will continue to serve as SVP of People and Culture (HR); Neil Chugani, who will serve as CFO of News & Sports, and David Vigilante, who will continue to serve as EVP and General Counsel for News & Sports. These leaders influence key parts of our business every day, and I am glad to continue to have their partnership.
I’m truly excited to dig in with these leaders and plan out our short and long-term goals. I’m sure that you have questions about these changes and what they mean – you will have an opportunity to ask whatever is on your mind in our next town hall on August 11. More details on that will be coming soon.
With this strong team now in place, the real work begins. I have no doubt that these leaders will individually and collectively tackle the challenges that lie ahead and create new opportunities for CNN in the ever-evolving media landscape. These key executives will now be developing plans for their leadership teams, and we will share those decisions in the coming months. I am tremendously bullish about the future of CNN and this team – and I’m eager to move forward and roll up our sleeves, together.