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Jeff Zucker to Exit CNN After 2021

Jeff Zucker
(Image credit: CNN)

NEW YORK—After speculation built up that Jeff Zucker’s time at CNN may come to an end following the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden, Zucker has now confirmed that he will step down from his longtime position as president of CNN at the end of 2021.

CNN Business provided details of the company’s daily editorial call, where Zucker told employees that he will remain with CNN parent company, WarnerMedia, through the end of the year. Zucker oversees both CNN and is the chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports.

“I am going to stay and finish my current contract—which, as I said, will keep me here until the end of this year. At that point, I do expect to move on,” Zucker said on the call, via a transcript provided by CNN to TV Tech sister publication B+C. “But that is almost a year from now. That’s a long time.”

Zucker took over CNN in 2013 and is credited with helping to navigate the news network against its primary competitors Fox News and MSNBC, as well as through the Trump administration; though he did receive criticism for how much coverage he gave Donald Trump when he was a candidate. Prior to joining CNN, Zucker was CEO of NBCUniversal Television Group until it was acquired by Comcast.

In the last year, CNN has seen record ratings with news of the pandemic, the election, the insurrection at the Capitol and the inauguration.

“I cannot imagine not being here right now,” Zucker said, per the transcript. “I have this incredible seat in the very front row of history every day. I work with the best people in the business. As we have noted, multiple times, CNN has never been stronger—and that is something I am incredibly proud of. We have come a very long way in the past eight years. We have challenges ahead, for sure—but we could not be better positioned to meet them. The future is bright with tremendous opportunity, and I want to put all the right pieces into place to make sure that CNN remains strong for many years to come. And, as we know, we have been doing our daily meetings this way for nearly a year. This organization has been thru a lot. I'd like to be here to get us all back to a new normal, one that feels much more like it once did around here.”

Zucker says that he does not have any immediate plans for what he will do when he leaves CNN.