Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, abruptly resigned from his role on Wednesday, effective immediately.
The powerful and influential media executive released a statement saying his tenure at the network was ending due to a “consensual relationship” he did not disclose.
“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 told CNN employees in a memo, according to a CNN report.
“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,” he continued.
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Although he did not mention the colleague by name, CNN reports the relationship is with the network’s chief marketing officer, Allison Gollust.
Gollust will remain at the network and sent out a memo of her own saying, “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. I’m incredibly proud of my time at CNN and look forward to continuing the great work we do everyday.”
In an article from 2013, the New York Times reported Gollust quit her role as communications director for then Gov. Andrew Cuomo after four months to join Zucker at CNN. Zucker had worked with Gollust at NBC Universal.
After Zucker’s resignation, CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy wrote on Twitter that three senior execs will lead CNN in the interim. The execs are Michael Bass, Amy Entelis, and Ken Jautz.
Zucker joined CNN in 2013 as president of CNN Worldwide. He previously headed NBC Entertainment as its president and brokered deals including convincing the cast of Friends to extend their contracts by two years. He went on to become president and CEO of NBC Universal before joining CNN.
Zucker started out at NBC in 1986 as a researcher for the 1988 Olympics. He went on to eventually become the executive producer of the Today show at the age of 26.