CNN's chief Jim Walton will vacate the position at the end of the year to make way for "new thinking."

The president of CNN Worldwide announced his resignation in a memo to staff member Friday, saying Dec. 31 will be his last day aqt the network he has been with for the past 30 years, since its infancy. Walton spent 10 of those years leading CNN Worldwide, but said he was thinking about quitting for some time now.

Walton, 54, told the staffers he talked the issue over with Turner Broadcasting Chairman who supported his decision.  Walton will remain available to help with the transition.

"CNN needs new thinking," the memo read. "That starts with a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it through. And I'm ready for a change. I have interests to explore and I want to give myself time to do it."

Walton said the company is financially successful, but CNN has been lagging behind its Fox News Channel and MSNBC cable-news rivals during the prime time spot. The network also suffered a major embarrassment when it recently falsely reported that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the health care reform law was that it was uncostitutional. Other channels made the same error, but CNN was much later in correcting the decision.

Walton started working for CNN in 1981. He was initially tasked with operating the TelePrompter for news anchors among other things, reported the Associated Press.