CNN chairman and CEO Chris Licht told the troops during a Thursday morning network editorial call that there is a new member of the leadership team: David Leavy, joining as Chief Operating Officer.

He moves into his new role June 20.

But what exactly is that role?

Officially, Leavy will oversee commercial, operational and promotional activities across the network.

But is there more to this than meets the eye.

Leavy is a longtime associate of Warner Discovery CEO David “Bothsideism” Zaslav, serving Discovery and its successor Warner Bros. Discovery for 23 years and is currently chief corporate affairs officer for the parent company.

He’ll retain a lot of those duties when he moves into his new position in which he ostensibly answers to Licht in what can only be described as a demotion.

“Everyone who works with David has seen how his energy, work ethic and collaborative style positively impacts an organization, and I can’t wait for him to join me and the CNN team,” Licht gushed.

“There’s no way they would put David Leavy down into CNN to work for Chris Licht,” one industry veteran told Mediaite. “He’s too important to Zaslav to take what on paper sounds like a demotion. It sure sounds like he’s taking one for the team.”

Has Zaslav decided that first-time CEO Licht needs a minder?

There’s no doubt that Licht has made some progress in ridding CNN of the Zucker-era excesses and steering it back into more traditional cable news waters.

But it has come at a price as far as ratings are concerned. CNN’s new avowed “journalism matters” stance has put off viewers hungry for their nightly dose of ideological red meat while not bringing back the traditionalists – or the viewers who CLAIM to be traditionalists.

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