CEO Talks – Licht’s Rocky Tenure As CNN’s CEO Provides Crisis And Leadership Lessons


The lessons learned from the fallout of CNN and departure of its former CEO, Chris Licht will have a significant impact on media outlets across the board as they navigate the new climate of media platforms.

From the crisis management standpoint, it further reinforces the need for faster response to crisis scenarios, as well as developing an effective crisis communications plan.

There were many opportunities to address the issues raised from leadership to controversial statements made on the network, but it all appeared either delayed or not timely. When you’re dealing with crisis communications, it requires a hand-on and selective approach, with each of the key players involved in the crisis team playing an important role. It also needs to be timely. The recent magazine profile did not help to regain trust. In fact, it did quite the opposite. Even worse, a prominent media outlet is reporting on another prominent outlet’s inner turmoil and drama of its employees.

Reading some of the reports, it appears that there was a significant break in leadership which would definitely impact the crisis team. If leadership is not properly prepped or involved in the process of handling the crisis, that is your first red flag. Leadership must always be involved because they will probably be the spokesperson to communicate on the company’s behalf. The “face” of the organization must be present and when it’s not, it communicates a very different on the stability of the organization.

From how it’s communicated, to where the message is delivered, each of these areas must be navigated with a fine-tooth comb.

Brandi Sims

Founder + CEO, Brandinc PR


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