AOL Time Warner Inc. has tabbed Time Inc. veteran Walter Isaacson to succeed
Tom Johnson as chairman and CEO of CNN News Group.
Isaacson's appointment was announced Monday by Turner Broadcasting System
Inc. chairman and CEO Jamie Kellner, AOL Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin and
co-chief operating officer Bob Pittman.
Johnson, who joined Cable News Network in 1990, announced his retirement in
In his new post, Isaacson, who most recently had been serving as editorial
director of Time, is responsible for CNN/U.S., CNN Headline News, CNN
International, CNNfn, CNN/SI and CNN en Español, as well as 10 other cable- and
satellite-television networks worldwide.
Additionally, he has oversight for three private place-based networks; two
radio networks; 12 Web sites; mobile services CNN to Go in the United States and
CNN Mobile internationally; and syndicated news service CNN Newsource.
Reporting directly to Kellner, Isaacson, 49, will oversee CNN News Group's
3,900 employees, including 1,000 devoted to newsgathering, and CNN's 42
CNN News Group president and COO Philip Kent reports to Isaacson, while chief
news executive and newsgathering president Eason Jordan will report to Isaacson
Isaascon's elevation comes as CNN is trying to regain its footing in the
all-news category. During the first half of 2001, Fox News Channel bested CNN in
the primetime Nielsen Media Research. During the second quarter, FNC averaged a
0.7 primetime rating, up 40 percent from the same period last year, while CNN's
0.6 primetime rating was even with last year. Both CNN and FNC posted 0.3
total-day ratings during the second quarter.
Isaacson joined Time in 1978 as national-affairs writer in New York before
becoming a political correspondent in Washington, D.C. He later became the
title's national editor and later its assistant managing editor.
In 1993, Isaacson was named editor of new media for Time. Two years later,
Isaacson was elevated to managing editor of Time magazine.
In January 2001, he became editorial director of Time, helping to set the
editorial and electronic-media strategies for the company's major magazines and
serving as the liaison to CNN, America Online and other divisions of the
company. He has also written several books.
'To us, Walter Isaacson epitomizes the integrity, leadership and vision we
need to continue the unparalleled reputation, journalistic excellence and
ratings leadership we enjoy,' Kellner said in a prepared statement.
'Walter's unique experience as a renowned journalist, seasoned manager and
early pioneer in new media make him the ideal executive -- working closely with
Phil Kent and Eason Jordan -- to help extend and expand CNN's worldwide news
leadership,' Kellner added.