CNN considering Mark Thompson for top job -Semafor

The CNN logo stands outside the venue of the second Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidates debate, in the Fox Theater in Detroit

(Reuters) – CNN is considering former New York Times and BBC chief Mark Thompson as one of the top candidates to lead the media company, news website Semafor reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the talks.

Thompson left the Times in 2020 after an eight-year tenure, during which he oversaw the publication’s transformation from print to digital.

The veteran media executive began his career at the British Broadcasting Corporation, which he joined in 1979 as a production trainee, eventually becoming editor of the “Nine O’Clock News” and “Panorama” and later, director of television.

He left the BBC in 2002 to become chief executive of Channel 4, but returned when he was appointed director-general in May 2004, a position he held until 2012.

He could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros Discovery, declined a request for comment.

CNN is looking to fill a leadership void created by the departure of former Chairman and Chief Executive Chris Licht in June, less than a week after the Atlantic magazine published a critical report about him.

Licht, who most recently was executive vice president of special programming at CBS, and executive producer and showrunner for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” assumed his role at CNN in May 2022.

He replaced Jeff Zucker, who was forced to resign after failing to disclose a consensual relationship with a colleague.

Among other criticism, Licht had taken heat for CNN’s decision to broadcast a May 10 town hall with former Republican President Donald Trump.

During the broadcast, Trump repeated falsehoods about his 2020 election loss, said that if elected again, he would pardon many supporters convicted of taking part in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, and called CNN moderator Kaitlan Collins a “nasty person.”

(Reporting by Jahnavi Nidumolu and Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel, Mark Porter and Bernadette Baum)