CNN President To Resign At Year's End

The longtime president of CNN, Jim Walton, says he will leave the company at the end of the year.

This April 18, 2007 file photo shows Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide, at a party held by CNN celebrating King's fifty years of broadcasting in New York. Walton is quitting, saying the beleaguered news network needs a different leader with a new perspective and plans. Walton built CNN into a profitable international news organization in his 10 years as boss. But the U.S. flagship network has suffered through some historically poor ratings in the past few months and is entrenched in third place behind rivals Fox News Channel and MSNBC in prime time. He announced his decision in an email to staff on Friday, July 27, 2012.

The longtime president of CNN, Jim Walton, says he will leave the company at the end of the year.

Walton, who joined the company as an entry-level video journalist in 1981, said the company needed "a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan."

"For some time, I've been talking with (Turner Chairman and CEO) Phil Kent about wanting to make a change, and he supports my decision," Walton wrote in a memo to employees.

During Walton's tenure, CNN has expanded worldwide, on television, digital and mobile platforms.

"When Jim Walton assumed the presidency of CNN in 2003, it was under performing and earnings were in serious decline," Time Warner CEO and Chairman Jeff Bewkes said in a statement. "Since then, he and CNN have tripled earnings, doubled margin and delivered annual growth of 15 percent."

Phil Kent, Turner's chairman and CEO, said Walton is "the leader we all aspire to be. Smart, steady, tough, and fair, business-savvy and respected by his team. His vision has modernized and globalized our legacy news brand, enhanced CNN's journalistic standing, positioned it at the forefront of multi-platform branded news content and challenged the organization to think bigger, reach further and do better. I am honored to work alongside him and proud to call him my friend."

Bewkes also praised Walton's service.

"In his nearly 31 years of uninterrupted and distinguished service to CNN, Jim has been instrumental in growing the business into the financial powerhouse it has become, while establishing the brand as the worldwide leader for television news," Bewkes said. "I respect him personally and professionally and support the decision he and Phil Kent have reached."