The leader of CNN Worldwide has abruptly tendered his resignation, a decision largely tied to his revelation that he developed an improper relationship with his “closest colleague” — an individual he had worked with for more than two decades.
Jeff Zucker, the president of the entity that oversees CNN and CNN International, is out, effective immediately.
In an employee memo shared by CNN.com, Zucker said, “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. As a result, I am resigning today.”
While Zucker did not reveal the name of that longtime colleague, CNN reports that it is with Chief Marketing Officer Allison Gollust, who is remaining at CNN.
Gollust issued a memo of her own. She 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. I’m incredibly proud of my time at CNN and look forward to continuing the great work we do everyday.”
The memo was dispatched shortly after 11am Eastern, taking employees by surprise.
Shortly thereafter, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar sent an internal email to all at CNN stating that an interim leadership plan will be revealed shortly. “Both of these organizations are at the top of their respective games and are well prepared for their next chapters,” he said.
At press time, Deadline reported that Michael Bass, Amy Entelis and Ken Jautz will serve as interim co-heads of CNN through the close of WarnerMedia’s merger with Discovery Inc.
Zucker has been associated with CNN since 2013. He is widely known for his tenure at NBC, where he rose from a TODAY producer to network president.