• Leavy is set to start his job as CNN's COO on June 20
  • Top CNN anchors reportedly voiced their concerns about Licht to Leavy
  • Licht blasted CNN's pandemic coverage in the Atlantic profile

CNN's incoming chief operating officer (COO) David Leavy will reportedly take over the media company's public relations team following concerns from the outlet's top anchors over the shocking profile of chief executive officer (CEO) Chris Licht in The Atlantic.

Two CNN staffers with knowledge of the decision told Semafor Tuesday that taking over the PR team would be one of Leavy's first assignments when he starts his COO job on June 20.

Leavy's entry into CNN as the new COO has been deemed worrisome for Licht, who has had a chaotic first year as the media giant's CEO.

An insider from CNN told The New York Post that CNN's PR team will still report to Licht through Leavy. The Post has reportedly reached out to both CNN and its parent company Warner Bros. Discovery for comment, while Semafor said Leavy did not respond to its request for a comment on the matter.

The reports about changes for the PR team came on the back of a shocking profile published by The Atlantic, which provided details about Licht's travails since he took the CEO role last year.

In the profile, it was revealed that Licht criticized CNN's reporting during the pandemic, adding that viewers' trust in the media company was only apparent "in the beginning."

"People walked outside and they go, 'This is not my life. This is not my reality. You guys are just saying this because you need the ratings, you need the clicks. I don't trust you,'" he said.

Licht also said that it got to a point where CNN was driven by the spike in viewership ratings during the pandemic.

An internal survey conducted last year, which was not previously revealed until Semafor reported about part of the survey's results Monday, found that trust in the news provider was eroded by liberal bias, COVID-19 coverage and "the Chris Cuomo situation."

The Atlantic's profile of Licht isn't the only thorn on Licht's side, as it turns out CNN's top anchors spoke with Leavy to voice their concerns about the CEO after the bombshell profile.

Jake Tapper, Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett reportedly criticized Licht after the Atlantic dropped the profile, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Unnamed sources told WSJ that the three high-profile hosts talked to Leavy about their concerns regarding Licht's leadership. Leavy has reportedly been talking with hosts and producers at CNN even if he isn't due to start working until later this month.

The outlet further reported that Licht has been seen as a leader that keeps off the newsroom and is aloof — a contrast from how ex-CEO Jeff Zucker was with staffers.

Licht apologized to CNN workers Monday. CNN's Oliver Darcy reported that staffers didn't hear from the embattled CEO since The Atlantic published the profile on June 2 until the Monday morning call.

Darcy referred to the profile as "embarrassing" and "called into serious question Licht's judgment, his ability to lead the network's staff and his overall professional capabilities as CNN's top executive."

Darcy said Licht described the experience following the meltdown over the weekend that it was "tremendously humbling" and he would "fight like hell" to win back the trust of CNN employees.

Darcy, who is a senior media reporter at CNN, said some staffers were "angry," others were "frustrated," while many were "sad about the awful state of affairs" that has engulfed the network in recent days.

Insiders who spoke to The Los Angeles Times anonymously said leading internal conversations focused on whether Licht could last longer as the CEO following the outrage throughout CNN and its parent company.

People with knowledge of Leavy's hiring as CNN's COO previously told CNBC that getting Leavy into the bandwagon was Licht's idea after talks with a female executive for the role fell through.

The people added that Leavy presented himself as potentially fit for the position and Licht accompanied him to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who agreed to have Leavy on board.

Leavy, who currently serves as Warner Bros. Discovery's chief corporate affairs officer, is supposed to have no input on the editorial unit of CNN, and he is expected to oversee the network's advertising sales, logistics, marketing and facilities.

The CNN logo adorns the top of CNN's offices on the Sunset Strip, Jan. 24, 2000 in Hollywood, CA. David McNew/Newsmakers/Getty Images