Chris Licht, the new CEO of CNN spoke to employees on Tuesday, announcing that there will be company-wide layoffs as early as December as the network is forced to make cuts in preparation for a potential recession.
While he did not specify which area of the company would see the most loss, he did say that teams that are not essential to the network’s “core mission” were at risk of losing their jobs.
Back in June, an optimistic Licht spoke at a staff-wide event where he assured everyone that there would not be mass layoffs at CNN.
“As it relates to CNN, there are no layoffs per se. A layoff is a downsizing, where you are given a target, and that is not happening at CNN,” said Licht.
However, CNN ratings continued to tank, and, by the time October came around, Licht was forced to change his tune. He sent out a memo that said,
“We have also begun to reduce or eliminate areas that aren’t core to our mission. All these moves are designed to keep CNN essential across platforms to ensure that wherever and however people get their news, they must have CNN. There is a lot more to be done… There is widespread concern over the global economic outlook, and we must factor that risk into our long-term planning. All this together will mean noticeable change to this organization. That, by definition, is unsettling. These changes will not be easy because they will affect people, budgets, and projects.”
Licht must shave down CNN’s budget by a reported $100 million.
This looming deadline has CNN employees on edge. A company insider told FOX Digital, “There are huge nerves about that.”
“It wasn’t clear from that town hall who they’re going to fire. We’re waiting for answers on that.”
CNN is not alone in mandatory personnel cuts. ABC recently received direction from Disney CEO Bob Chapek to enact a hiring freeze, as well as the cancellation of all nonessential travel.
Chapek also initiated a new “cost structure task force” to pursue “organizational enhancements.”
ABC News President Kim Goodwin reported that all positions will experience a hiring freeze except executive producers and producers.