Former BBC boss Mark Thompson reportedly lined up to run CNN

 Mark Thompson led the BBc for eight years
Mark Thompson led the BBc for eight years

Former BBC chief Sir Mark Thompson is being lined up to be the next head of the struggling CNN cable news network, it was reported today.

Thompson, 66, is also a former chief executive of the New York Times and is a well respected name in US media circles.

According to the Semafor news platform the ex-BBC director general is a favourite to succeed Chris Licht, who was fired in June after a tumultous 14 months at the helm.

Since then Warner Bros. Discovery owned CNN has been led by a triumvirate of veteran network leaders on an interim basis.

Thompson joined the BBC as a production trainee in 1979 and quickly rose to edit programmes such as Panorama and the Nine O’Clock News. He became the 14th BBC DG in May 2004, a position he held until 2012 when he joined the New York Times. He led the newspaper until 2020.

He has also been CEO of Channel 4 and currently serves as chairman of the board of Ancestry, the Utah-based genealogy company.

A CNN insider told the New York Post that Thompson’s track record of transforming the New York Times from a print-centric business to a digital business is “exactly what this place needs.”

“It’s not a programming job, we need someone to come in and rethink how we approach things,”

In 2021 Thompson said in an interview “News feels like a particularly old-fashioned style of broadcasting aimed entirely at older audiences.

“I live in the US and [TV news] seems completely unchanged since the 1980s. I think it is in dead trouble.”

Thomson who is said to spending time at his home in Maine, was unavailable for comment. There was no comment from Warner Bros. Discovery.