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CNN chief quits, says 'new thinking' needed

This April 18, 2007 file photo shows Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide, at a party held by CNN celebrating King's fifty years of broadcasting in New York. Walton is quitting, saying the beleaguered news network needs a different leader with a new perspective and plans. -AP Photo

WASHINGTON: CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton announced Friday he is quitting the job at the end of the year, saying the struggling cable network needs “new thinking.”

Walton said in a statement released by CNN that he would leave on December 31 after 10 years at the helm of CNN, the longest-running of the cable news channels and a unit of Time Warner.

“I am proud of what we have accomplished together over these last 10 years,” he said.

But he also maintained that “CNN needs new thinking. That starts with a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it through.”

Phil Kent, chairman of Turner Broadcasting, said Walton's “vision has modernized and globalized our legacy news brand, enhanced CNN's journalistic standing, positioned it at the forefront of multi-platform branded news content and challenged the organization to think bigger, reach further and do better.

“The news comes with CNN's rating hitting their lowest levels in two decades, behind Fox News Channel and MSNBC. Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes praised Walton's service.

“When Jim Walton assumed the presidency of CNN in 2003, it was underperforming and earnings were in serious decline,” he said.

“Since then, he and CNN have tripled earnings, doubled margin and delivered annual growth of 15 percent... I respect him personally and professionally and support the decision he and Phil Kent have reached.”


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