February 4, 2021

CNN president Jeff Zucker told employees in a call Thursday morning that he will leave the network at the end of the year. He has been president of CNN Worldwide since 2013.

In the company’s daily editorial call, according to CNN’s Brian Stelter, Zucker, 55, said, “The truth is, back in November and December I had basically decided that it was time to move on now. But since then I’ve had a change of heart. And I want to stay. Not forever, but for another year. And I feel really good about this decision.”

The Los Angeles Times’ Stephen Battaglio, who broke the news, wrote, “Zucker currently has no plans beyond 2021. Opportunities are likely to become clearer when the pandemic subsides and business returns to normal.”

Zucker’s decision comes at a time when CNN appears in healthy shape, having been on top of the ratings among cable news in recent weeks.

But, as The New York Times’ Ben Smith and Katie Robertson note, “his departure comes amid questions of how CNN’s parent company, AT&T, will steer the cable news channel at a time when Americans increasingly don’t want to pay for cable and streaming services are still unprofitable.”

CNN, and many networks and news outlets that heavily cover national politics, also might have to deal with a change in the news — a return to so-called “normalcy” now that Donald Trump is no longer in the White House.

Zucker, it is believed, will be missed by his employees, especially in the news division.

CNN anchor Jake Tapper told the Times, “He’s the best boss I ever had, and it’s not even close. I’m grateful that we get him for another year.”

Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer. For the latest media news and analysis, delivered free to your inbox each and every weekday morning, sign up for his Poynter Report newsletter.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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