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When Mark Met Alex

CNN C.E.O. Mark Thompson has been in extensive talks with Alex MacCallum, the well-regarded digital product guru who served with him for eight years at the Times.
CNN C.E.O. Mark Thompson has been in extensive talks with Alex MacCallum, the well-regarded digital product guru who served with him for eight years at the Times. Photo: Mat Hayward/Getty Images
Dylan Byers
January 3, 2024

On Wednesday morning, not-quite-new CNN chairman and C.E.O. Mark Thompson tried to patch into his network’s 9 a.m. all-hands call from an offsite location to share some news. But, alas, he failed to establish a strong connection and only came into spotty service about 20 minutes later, while driving through a mountain range. From there, in garbled transmission, Thompson informed the staff what I had reported last night: that CNN’s chief digital officer, Athan Stephanopoulos, would be stepping down. Thompson had recently conveyed the news to the network’s digital leadership team ahead of the all-hands.