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Ryan Kadro, the executive producer of “CBS This Morning,” told staffers of the A.M. program Friday that he would step down from his position in early January, citing a desire to find a new challenge.

“Nearly nine years after we created CBS This Morning, I’m stepping aside and leaving it in very capable hands.  This will be effective January 4, 2019.  Until then I’ll be working to help transition new leadership,” he told the show’s team on Friday. ” I want to thank you all for the tireless dedication and professionalism you bring to the newsroom and control room every day.  Your passion for news and great storytelling is unrivaled.  It has been an absolute privilege to work alongside all of you in our shared pursuit of excellence.”

A CBS News spokesperson said the network expects to name a successor soon.

Kadro’s departure comes as the morning program is grappling with ratings declines. CBS has long been a third-place player in broadcast-morning TV, but “CBS This Morning,” launched in 2012, has given the network new A.M. hopes. The program has avoided some of the lighter material that is so much a part of morning programs – cooking segments and weather personnel – in favor of an emphasis on harder topics, including segments on business and foreign news. The show lent a ratings surge to CBS’ morning lineup.

But the program’s audience has settled since the departure of co-anchor Charlie Rose last year. Rose was ousted in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Since that time, CBS News has added new two anchors to the “CBS This Morning” mix. John Dickerson and Bianna Golodryga have joined Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell at the “CBS This Morning” desk.

CBS News this week reached an undisclosed settlement with three women who alleged the network was aware of Rose’s behavior but failed to acknowledge it. Kadro’s talks are not related to that legal matter, these people said. “These conversations are unrelated to the settlement,” CBS News said in a statement.

Kadro said he had been in talks with CBS News President David Rhodes since September – the producer’s contract runs out at the end of 2018 – about his future. “Through our discussions, I couldn’t shake the feeling in my gut that I need a new challenge (and a serious nap.)  It’s the natural course of things,” he said to staffers. “Soon, I will say goodbye to this broadcast I love. I do so knowing that your garden is filled with green shoots.  That you have amazing anchors, a talented senior staff who cares about you, and a division filled with people who love news and CTM as much as all of you love news and CTM.  But for now, I say the biggest thank you imaginable to best team in television.”