After just 18 months on the job, CNN News Group CEO Walter Isaacson will
resign in May to become CEO of think tank The Aspen Institute.
Isaacson will be succeeded by Cable News Network president Jim Walton. But
Walton, who was named president of CNN News Group, won't get the chairman and
Isaacson is leaving CNN as the network -- which is gearing up to cover a
possible war in Iraq -- continues to struggle in the all-news battle against Fox
CNN saw its total-day average fall 17 percent to a 0.5 rating in 2002, while
it dipped 10 percent in primetime. Fox News gained 20 percent in primetime and
17 percent in total-day ratings last year.
Turner Broadcasting System Inc. CEO Jamie Kellner said Isaacson's exit won't
affect CNN's merger talks with ABC News. He added that those talks probably
won't resume for another six weeks.
Isaacson -- who said he aspires to "become a great snowboarder" -- should
enjoy getting away from the stress of the all-news war.
"If this [offer] hadn't come up and hit me, I wouldn't have done it. It's a
perfect match for what I wanted to do in the next phase of my life," he