Walter Isaacson begins the newest
and biggest challenge of his career: turning around
AOL Time Warner's flagging network, CNN, as
Mr. Isaacson, who was previously
the editorial director of Time Inc., takes over from
Tom Johnson, who retired abruptly last month.
CNN's ownership of the cable news
niche has been substantially eroded by the likes of
MSNBC and, most recently, by News Corp.'s Fox News
Network. In the wake of the completion of the AOL Time
Warner merger early this year, CNN laid off about 400
staffers -- about 20% of the new company's total
Mr. Isaacson, 49, won kudos during
his 23-year old career at Time Inc., most notably as
managing editor of Time from 1995 through 2000, when
he was widely credited with, for reinventing the
newsweekly in an era of ever-speedier news cycles.
In addition to the flagship
network, CNN News Group encompasses CNN-branded Web
sites, radio outlets and related cable properties like
Headline News, CNNfn, CNN/SI, CNN en Espanol and CNN
Mr. Isaacson will report to Jamie
Kellner, chairman of AOL Time Warner's Turner
Broadcasting Systems division. No replacement for Mr.
Isaacson at Time Inc. has yet been named.