CNN Names Athan Stephanopoulos Chief Digital Officer

Athan Stephanopoulos, a digital entrepreneur who had previously been president of an upstart news company that aims for younger consumers, will take the reins of CNN as its new chief digital officer,

The role is a critical one at the Warner Bros. Discovery-backed outlet, where the parent company recently scuttled plans for a new subscription-based streaming hub called CNN+ — leaving CNN’s efforts to attract a new generation of digitally-savvy news aficionados unclear. Stephanopoulos will join CNN on November 14 and report to CNN’s CEO, Chris Licht.

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Stephanopoulos recently served as president of the digital-news outlet NowThis, which caters to Generation Z and millennial audience. He supervised editorial, revenue, product and technology strategy, audience development and data insights, and guided the company as it was acquired by Group Nine Media and, subsequently, when Group Nine was purchased by Vox Media in early 2022.

He is a first cousin to George Stephanopoulos, the ABC News anchor and ”Good Morning Anerica” co-host.

“CNN’s digital reach around the world is truly unrivaled and its digital offering is best-in-class, and yet there is still so much opportunity for growth and innovation to move CNN into the future, the executive said. ” I look forward to working with Chris and the entire CNN team to drive deeper engagement among existing audiences online, as well as expand the brand’s digital reach to new audiences around the globe.”

Prior to NowThis, Stephanopoulos was the founder and CEO of Cliptamatic, a social video distribution platform that was acquired by NowThis in 2014. Paramount Pictures, HBO, ABC News, AMC Networks, MTV, Starz and Saturday Night Live used the company’s technology to distribute video.  Stephanopoulos is a lifetime member of the Council of Foreign Relations and previously served as an adjunct professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business in New York City, where he taught courses on media entrepreneurship and social media.

Wendy Brundige, who was the interim leader of CNN’s digital operations during the company’s search for a leader, has been named senior vice president of the unit. She will oversee business operations, commerce and audio, in additional to continuing her management and oversight of the global digital video team. Brundige has been at CNN for eight years, most recently serving as senior vice president of global video.

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