Sesno session over

D.C. chief joins other high-profile CNN anklers

After nearly two decades at CNN, Frank Sesno, the news net’s Washington bureau chief, has resigned to pursue other opportunities.

He is the latest high-profile exec to leave CNN in recent days as the net undergoes a revamp under new management.

However, Sesno will continue at CNN as an on-air contributor even after he leaves his post at the end of the month. He will also continue to work on documentaries for CNN.

With his contract set to expire in mid-October, Sesno said it was time to consider his future and mull other offers.

“I have several potential academic outlets that I’m considering, as well as a very serious business venture, a number of documentaries and maybe a think tank,” said Sesno, who joined the news net in 1984 and served as CNN’s White House correspondent throughout the Persian Gulf War.

Sesno said that he has been contemplating his future since he turned down an academic job offer last year after CNN asked him to be part of the company’s restructuring as part of the merger of parent company Time Warner with AOL.

“We part on amazingly good terms, CNN and I,” Sesno said. “In fact, we don’t really part at all since I’ll continue on as a contributor.”

CNN has not yet chosen a successor to Sesno.

Since being named chairman and CEO of the CNN News Group, Walter Isaacson has been vocal about his interest in boosting CNN’s Washington presence. Last week, the news net tapped former ABC News “World News Tonight” senior producer Kathryn Kross as its D.C. executive editor and deputy bureau chief.

Bureau boss

As bureau chief, Sesno supervised the net’s largest newsgathering team and oversaw the bureau’s daily operations, as well as the editorial direction of the cabler’s coverage of the White House, Congress, Pentagon, State Dept. and general Washington, D.C., news reporting.

“Frank has done tremendous work for CNN for 17 years,” Isaacson said. “He and his team have provided CNN viewers worldwide with stellar coverage of national political issues. We will miss him, and we wish him great success in the future.”

Sesno’s departure follows several other high-profile exits at CNN: Phil Kent, the news net’s prexy and chief operating officer, resigned last month; CNN chairman-CEO Tom Johnson called it quits early in the summer and was later replaced by Isaacson; CNN’s D.C. bureau recently lost veteran 20-year correspondent Charles Bierbauer to retirement.

New anchors for ‘Gang’

Separately, CNN announced Monday that CNNfn will revamp its midday market coverage with a new anchor team for “The Money Gang.” New roster includes veteran CNN biz news anchor Deborah Marchini, who signed a new contract that will keep her at the net. Marchini previously anchored “Ahead of the Curve.”

Also joining the show is former ROBtv anchor Ali Velshi, who hosted “The Business News,” Canada’s only primetime business news hour. CNNfn also has signed New York 1 news anchor Pat Kiernan, who will divide his time between NY1 and CNNfn.

The new “Money Gang” will premiere Oct. 1 with an enhanced 30-minute call-in feature, “Talking Stocks.”

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