12/21/2012 01:55 pm ET Updated Feb 20, 2013

Jim Walton Bids CNN Staffers Farewell On Last Day

CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton bid CNN staffers farewell in his final memo to employees.

Amidst record low ratings, Walton announced his resignation over the summer, saying the network needed new leadership. Earlier this month, CNN named its new president, Jeff Zucker. The former NBC Universal chief will begin at the end of January. Walton was named CNN Worldwide president in 2003 and had been with the network for more than 30 years.

In his memo, Walton wrote, "Jeff Zucker is a great leader for CNN's next chapter. You are lucky to get him. But not as lucky as he is to be getting you."

Read his full memo here:

Today is my last day at CNN. Thirty-one years is a big chunk of my life--let's be charitable and call it well more than half. I've been president of this organization for nearly one-third of its existence. I'm proud of that and of what CNN has become, what it stands for and what we've accomplished together.

When I was named president in 2003, CNN's financial health was dire. We will finish 2012 with nine consecutive years of profit growth, and CNN profits this year will be more than three times greater than they were in '03. From warring nations to natural disasters and national elections, our reporting this year has been timely, accurate and essential to more people on more platforms than at any other time in our history. The CNN brand is strong thanks to your hard work. I'm grateful to you--for everything, but especially:

To those of you who shared what you knew with me so I could learn and grow, thank you. You made me better.

To everyone who ever risked personal safety in the interest of a story that you knew in your heart mattered, thank you. You worried me, but you inspired all of us.

To the people who closed the deals, balanced the accounts, drove the trucks, checked the spelling, strung cable, stood guard or ever said, 'I'll take care of it,' thank you. You always came through.

Thanks for the long hours, for the understanding families, for the support in tough times, for the laughs all the time and for the courage to do the right thing. You made my job exciting, rewarding and possible, just as you will for my successor. Jeff Zucker is a great leader for CNN's next chapter. You are lucky to get him. But not as lucky as he is to be getting you.

CNN has been making headlines since Zucker was named president. On Thursday, the network named Jake Tapper as its new chief White House correspondent. Tapper, previously of ABC News, will also host a new weekday program on CNN. Rumors have also swirled that Zucker is interested in former NBC "Today" co-host Ann Curry.

(h/t TVNewser)



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