CNN names new EVP and global communications
By Michael P. Hill Article may include affiliate links
Kelly, who began her career at CNN in 2000, will return in August 2022 to lead the company’s brand strategy and teams, including media relations and publicity, creative marketing, events and brand initiatives, as well as employee and external communications.
Kelly joins the company at a key time — the botched launch of streamer CNN+ is still fresh, including the reported millions of dollars former owner WarnerMedia invested in marketing the service that ended up shutting down after less than a month of operation, triggering layoffs and tarnishing the network.
CNN’s U.S. channel is also trailing rivals Fox and MSNBC in the ratings during most timeslots, including in the lucrative morning and primetime hours. Meanwhile, Licht appears to be steering the channel in a new direction focused on hard news over opinion, which could lead to talent shakeups that could generate significant attention from media outlets.
Senior vice president of creative marketing and brand standards Rick Lewchuk took over marketing duties from Gollust and will report to Kelly.
“Kris is one of the most dynamic, creative and respected executives in her field with an incredible track record of success,” said Licht, CNN Worldwide Chairman and CEO in a statement. “I am completely confident in her ability to support and advance CNN’s core values of trust, transparency and accountability in journalism.”
Kelly will join CNN from The Washington Post where she’s held various positions since 2006, and currently serves as the company’s chief communications officer and general manager of Washington Post Live. At The Post, she leads corporate communications, brand strategy and marketing. She also developed and runs the publication’s live interview platform — Washington Post Live, and she spearheaded The Post’s strategy to expand into film and television.
“CNN is one of the most consequential and trusted news organizations in the world,” said Kelly in the same statement. “I am thrilled to join the team and help deliver on its vision to grow CNN’s reach and reputation as the world’s leading source for news and information.”
Kelly was responsible for creating and launching The Washington Post Press Freedom Partnership in the wake of columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder in 2018; and in 2014 developed The Washington Post Helping Hand to raise money for Washington, DC-area nonprofits that support efforts to end hunger, homelessness and poverty.
She also sits on the Board of Directors of the International Women’s Media Foundation. Kelly will begin her new role in August based out of CNN’s New York bureau.