Most employees learn of their termination in person or on Zoom — or in the age of virtual layoffs, through an email. Instead, former CNN CEO Chris Licht endured the sad irony of being fired in Central Park — the same place where he was offered the job.
According to the New York Times, Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav invited Licht to the New York City park at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning to inform him of his impending termination, right around where Zaslav offered Licht the job just 13 months ago.
Hours later, Zaslav shared the news of Licht’s exit on a 9 a.m. editorial call. “I met with Chris and he will be leaving CNN,” the Warner Bros. Discovery CEO told staffers. “We’re in the process of conducting a wide search, internally and externally, for a new leader.”
Shortly following the call, Zaslav sent a memo to staffers elaborating on Licht’s departure, which was clarified as effective immediately.
“I have great respect for Chris, personally and professionally,” Zaslav wrote in the memo. “The job of leading CNN was never going to be easy, especially at a time of huge disruption and transformation, and he has poured his heart and soul into it. While we know we have work to do as we look to identify a new leader, we have absolute confidence in the team we have in place and will continue to fight for CNN and its world class journalism.”
Later on Wednesday, Licht broke his silence in a post-exit statement, which called his tenure “exciting but incredibly challenging.”
“This was an exciting but incredibly challenging assignment, and I learned a lot over the past 13 months,” Licht said in a statement to media. “I’ve been lucky enough to have had a successful, fulfilling career and I look forward to my next chapter.”