CNN president Jeff Zucker resigns, admits to secret relationship with senior exec

February 2, 2022, 4:28 PM UTC

Jeff Zucker, chairman of WarnerMedia’s news and sports divisions and president of CNN, has resigned from the network and media giant, saying he failed to disclose a romantic relationship with another senior executive at CNN.

Zucker was expected to leave CNN in the coming month once the merger of AT&T’s media division and Discovery was completed, but Wednesday’s resignation is effective immediately.

“As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo’s tenure at CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years,” Zucker wrote in a staff memo. “I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong…As a result, I am resigning today.”

Zucker is one of the most powerful media executives in the country (and at one point was considered a possible political candidate). In 1991 he was named executive producer of the Today show on NBC at the age of 26, and was credited for its success. He quickly rose through the ranks at NBC, making Joe Rogan and Donald Trump household names by green-lighting shows including Fear Factor and The Apprentice.

Zucker left to take over CNN in 2013, reviving ratings at the cable news network, but quickly finding himself at odds with Trump.

Zucker’s relationship was with Allison Gollust, CNN’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, reports the New York Times. Gollust is a high-ranking leader at the network and said in a statement to the Times that she would remain with the network.

“Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years,” she wrote. “Recently, our relationship changed during COVID. I regret that we didn’t disclose it at the right time. I’m incredibly proud of my time at CNN and look forward to continuing the great work we do every day.”

Both Zucker and Gollust are divorced.

The relationship came to light during the network’s investigation of Chris Cuomo’s conduct during his time with the company, after he was accused of using his position and resources to help his brother Andrew M. Cuomo, then-governor of New York, after allegations of sexual harassment.

Gollust previously worked for then-Governor Andrew Cuomo as his chief spokeswoman for four months before quitting her position to join CNN. Cuomo had hired Gollust from NBC Universal, where she had worked alongside Zucker for 15 years.

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