Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide and chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports, has resigned effective immediately. Zucker broke the news to a stunned staff on Wednesday.
“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. I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong,” he told employees in a memo. “As a result, I am resigning today.”
Although Zucker didn’t name the colleague, tabloids previously reported that he has been dating Allison Gollust, CNN’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, for years. Brian Stelter, CNN’s chief media correspondent, confirmed the relationship is with Gollust. She will remain at the network.
Gollust previously worked with Zucker for 15 years at NBC. When he joined CNN in 2013, Gollust was among his first hires. She issued a statement shortly after news broke on Wednesday.
“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 everyday.”
Prior to joining CNN, Gollust served as communications director for former New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Cuomo announced his resignation in Aug. 2021 amid his sexual harassment scandal that ultimately led to the firing of his brother, Chris Cuomo, from CNN in Dec. 2021.
Michael Bass, Amy Entelis and Ken Jautz, members of CNN’s leadership team, will serve as interim co-heads effective immediately.
In Zucker’s email to colleagues, he admitted he wished his “tenure here ended differently” after nine years.
“But it was an amazing run. And I loved every minute. I am grateful to the thousands of incredibly talented CNN and Turner Sports employees who helped make this such a joy for me, and such a success for all of us,” he added. “I wish each of you nothing but the best in the years ahead.”
Jason Kilar, CEO of CNN parent company WarnerMedia, also sent an email to all staffers accepting Zucker’s resignation.
“I have accepted Jeff Zucker’s resignation as Chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports, and President of CNN Worldwide. We thank Jeff for his contributions over the past 9 years,” he wrote. “We will be announcing an interim leadership plan shortly. Both of these organizations are at the top of their respective games and are well prepared for their next chapters.”
CNN reporter Oliver Darcy said “staffers are in absolute shock right now.”