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Jautz is a “smart, talented executive with the right personality and skill set to restore CNN’s position in the cable news space,” said Princell Hair, a former CNN executive now senior vice president for news operations at Comcast Sports.

Frank Sesno, a former CNN Washington bureau chief and now a professor at George Washington University, said Klein’s departure isn’t surprising but the timing was odd.

CNN is an incredible franchise with what should be an incredible product brand and it’s still trying to find itself,” he said. “Jon Klein is just the latest. If you telescope the whole thing, CNN has been going through this for 10 years. The real question is what is Ken Jautz going to do.”

Jautz said he wanted to see a CNN that is “as engaging and lively in its programming as it is informative in its reporting.”

He pronounced himself fully behind CNN’s new prime-time shows, nothing that he sat in on the first meeting CNN had with Morgan. “These two programs are going to be a great improvement to the CNN lineup,” he said.

Walton said that CNN will not move in the same direction as Fox and MSNBC.

“It’s critical for the entire business of CNN Worldwide that we remain nonpartisan,” he said. Walton appointed Scott Safon, CNN’s chief marketing officer, to become HLN’s chief executive. Despite Safon’s non-news background, his role in Walton’s inner circle exposed him to all facets of the business, Walton said.