The decision to bolster Licht's security detail was reportedly made to prevent any unwanted escalation, especially as he maintained an open-door policy to any employee who wanted to speak with him personally.
According to Puck, extra security was spotted on Thursday following Licht around, as well as outside his office at CNN's corporate headquarters.
"Some CNN sources who passed by Licht on Thursday did notice the presence of multiple security guards standing outside of the conference room, and at least one walking around with Licht as he moved about the floor. Guards are always present on the 17th floor at Hudson Yards—this is a global news network, after all, and one all-too-familiar with angry protestors and bomb threats—but the heightened security presence on a day of layoffs suggested Licht was mindful of how raw emotions were, and that a Jerry Maguire moment, or something worse, was not out of the question," the outlet reported.
During the latest round of layoffs, hundreds of employees were shown the door. While most were members of the production staff and other behind-the-scenes workers, a number of prominent figures were also let go.
Among them was political reporter and editor-at-large Chris Cillizza, whose comments often garnered reactions from across the political spectrum.
Licht first hinted that layoffs were imminent in mid-November, and made things official on December 1.
He outlined his reasoning in a company-wide memo.
"Our goal throughout the strategic review process," he wrote, "has been to better align our people, processes and resources with our future priorities, strengthen our ability to deliver on CNN's core journalistic mission and enable us to innovate in the years ahead. At the highest level, the goal is to direct our resources to best serve and grow audiences for our core news programming and products."
He went on to explain that in its mission to achieve those goals, CNN would be "reducing open job positions, reimagining our workflows and aligning our staffing, investments and focus around three key strategic priorities: programming, newsgathering and digital."
"The changes we make today are necessary and will make us stronger and better positioned to place big bets going forward without fear of failure," he concluded, suggesting that CNN was "the world's most vital source of news and information."
Over the past year, CNN's ratings have continued to drop, leading to calls for mass restructuring. Upon taking over for former CEO Jeff Zucker, Licht has overseen a number of drastic changes, including the firing of Brian Stelter and demotion of Don Lemon.
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