CNN/U.S. Names Bedingfield GM


Roughly three weeks after a major restructuring, the CNN News Group has named a permanent successor to former Cable News Network/U.S. president Rick Kaplan.

Last week, Sid Bedingfield was named to the newly created position of executive vice president and general manager, CNN/U.S. Bedingfield had been executive vice president and senior executive producer of CNN.

As CNN's general manager, Bedingfield will be responsible for the network's day-to-day operations. He will report to Jim Walton, president of domestic networks for the CNN News Group.

Shortly before Labor Day, CNN made a number of organizational changes that prompted Rick Kaplan, the president of CNN, to leave abruptly.

Unlike Kaplan, Bedingfield will not report directly to CNN News Group chairman Tom Johnson. Instead, Bedingfield will answer directly to Walton, whose promotion was one of the changes instituted in late August.

Walton is in charge of a team of executives who will work across the full domestic portfolio CNN of cable networks, Web sites and new-technology platforms.

The latest round of promotions, including Bedingfield's, are meant to create an infrastructure so that when CNN covers a story, "we will produce it in the right format for our various platforms," Walton said.

Also last week, Rena Golden, currently senior vice president of CNN International, was named executive vice president and general manager of CNN International.

Tera Ryan, formerly executive vice president of CNNfn, was named to the newly created post of executive vice president of domestic networks for the CNN News Group. In her new capacity, Ryan will focus on new-product development, as well as television and Web integration across CNN's domestic portfolio.

Wonya Lucas, a veteran marketing executive at Turner Broadcasting System Inc., will assume the newly created position of senior vice president of strategic marketing for CNN's domestic networks. Lucas will oversee all CNN domestic marketing, creative services and research functions.

Critics of CNN have complained that despite falling ratings, the network hasn't adequately marketed or promoted itself. It has been reluctant to advertise beyond its own air, for example.

While declining to discuss CNN's past promotional efforts, Walton said: "Marketing is essential to any good business. We're going to make sure we get the message out."

Last week's changes included the promotion of Sue Bunda, formerly vice president of CNN/U.S., to senior vice president, reporting to Bedingfield. Jennifer Maguire was also elevated, from senior vice president of programming for CNN/U.S. to senior vice president of programming and talent development for the CNN News Group's domestic networks.