Jeff Zucker, the leader of CNN’s news department, plans to take a six-week leave of absence from the company to undergo heart surgery.
Zucker informed staff Thursday morning at the end of a daily news meeting, assuring them that he was going to be just fine. The surgery is elective and meant to address a heart condition Zucker has been living with for 10 years.
Brian Stelter, CNN’s senior media correspondent and host of Reliable Sources, broke the news in a tweet.
Zucker, who formerly produced NBC’s Today show and ultimately became CEO of NBCUniversal, joined CNN in 2013. Under his leadership, the network has expanded its focus to include more documentary series (including Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown), focus more on digital news delivery and has helped the network attract its largest audience ever (in 2017).
At the same time, CNN has been a favorite target of President Donald Trump in his frequent complaints about the media, often being referred to as “fake news”. Recently, Trump refused to take a question from a CNN reporter in a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Additional details of Zucker’s heart condition were not released.
Michael Bass, CNN’s executive vice president of programming, is expected to run the news organization’s schedule during Zucker’s absence.