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CNN boss Jeff Zucker resigns, failed to disclose relationship


CNN President Jeff Zucker resigned Wednesday for failing to disclose a romantic relationship with a high-ranking colleague who once served as communications director to ex-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Zucker wanted to stay in the role temporarily, but he faced a possible firing if he did not step down, the network’s journalists reported, citing two people involved in the matter.

Zucker, 56, in a memo sent to staff said that he should have admitted to his relationship with CNN executive Allison Gollust when he was asked about it during a recent probe by the network of Chris Cuomo, who at the time was a host of a prime-time show there.

Chris Cuomo was fired in early December after CNN said it had obtained new information about his controversial role in advising his brother Andrew during a sexual harassment scandal, which itself had ultimately led to the governor’s resignation last summer.

“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 said.

Jeff Zucker, President of CNN, is interviewed during a Financial Times Future of News event March 22, 2018 in New York.

Don Emmert | AFP | Getty Images

“I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong,” said Zucker, who like Gollust is divorced.

“As a result, I am resigning today.”

“I came to CNN on January 28, 2013. Together, we had nine great years. I certainly wish my tenure here had ended differently. But it was an amazing run. And I loved every minute,” said Zucker.

CNN reported that “Zucker’s resignation left staffers inside the network in shock.”

Jason Kilar, CEO of CNN’s parent WarnerMedia, itself a subsidiary of AT&T, in a statement to network employees, said “We thank Jeff for his contributions over the past 9 years.

Kilar later announced in a separate memo that CNN would be led for now by three long-time members of its current leadership team: Michael Bass, Amy Entelis and Ken Jautz.

Gollust, who was not identified by name in Zucker’s statement, is keeping her job as CNN executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

She previously was chief of communications at NBC Universal during Zucker’s tenure there, which include serving as president and CEO of NBC Universal, the parent company of CNBC.

An NBC News story last year described Gollust as “Zucker’s most-trusted lieutenant for decades.”

Gollust, in a statement, read on air by CNN media reporter Brian Stelter, said, “Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years.”

“Recently, our relationship changed during Covid. I regret that we didn’t disclose it at the right time,” Gollust said. “I’m incredibly proud of my time at CNN and look forward to continuing the great work we do every day.”

CNN declined to comment when contacted by CNBC.

Zucker had a reputation within CNN for being a very hands-on manager who…


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