Jeff Zucker Quits CNN for Failure to Reveal Office Romance

The network boss resigned Wednesday after neglecting to tell Cuomo investigators about his relationship with a fellow top CNN exec

CNN president and WarnerMedia news and sports chairman Jeff Zucker resigned from his post Wednesday after trying to keep his romantic relationship with a fellow boss at the network under wraps.

Zucker announced his resignation in a memo to his former underlings Wednesday, saying that he is quitting because he failed to disclose his consensual romantic relationship with CNN executive vice president and chief marketing officer Allison Gollust.

The issue arose during an internal investigation into CNN’s former primetime anchor Chris Cuomo. Zucker fired Cuomo two months ago for coaching his brother, disgraced ex-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, about how to handle multiple accusations sexual harassment.

“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. “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.”

In her own statement Wednesday, Gollust, who is staying with the network, said that the pandemic brought her and Zucker closer together.

“Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years,” Gollust 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 everyday.”

Gollust and Zucker are both divorced.

According to the network, Zucker’s decision “sent shockwaves inside CNN and across the industry. CNN employees had no idea what was coming before Zucker’s email landed in their inboxes shortly after 11 a.m. ET.”

Zucker’s departure comes as CNN parent co. WarnerMedia is trying to pull off a merger with Discovery in a $43 billion deal it hopes to complete no later than June. Also in the mix is the network’s attempt to launch its CNN+ streaming service this spring. Plus, CNN still has to find someone to replace Cuomo, who’s battling the network over the $18 million he claims he’s still owed on his contract.

WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said Wednesday that executives Michael Bass, Amy Entelis, and Ken Jautz will run CNN until the Discovery merger is complete, adding that staffers will “hear more” from them “in the coming days.”

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