CNN president resigns over hidden consensual relationship with coworker


Fortune Live Media |

Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

Former CNN President Jeff Zucker announced his resignation from the company on Feb. 2 after the network became aware that he is in a consensual relationship with CNN Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Allison Gollust.

The two high ranking executives’ relationship was brought to light following CNN’s investigation into another former staff member’s actions.

In the investigation into former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo’s involvement in the office term of his brother, former New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Cuomo brought up Zucker and Gollust’s relationship. Chris was found to have advised Andrew on certain scandals he was dealing with while governor.

“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 in a memo he sent to staff at the network.

The problem, though, was not necessarily the relationship itself. Instead, it was the fact that neither partner disclosed the relationship to the company, as they were supposed to do.

“I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years,” Zucker continued in the memo sent to staff. “I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong. As a result, I am resigning today.”

Zucker and Gollust first started working together back in 1998 at NBC. Zucker moved to CNN, after which Gollust was one of the first people that he hired, according to a CNN article about the matter.

“Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years,” Gollust wrote in a memo to staff. “Recently, our relationship changed during Covid. I regret that we didn’t disclose it at the right time.”

As of Feb. 14, Gollust will remain in her position at CNN, while Zucker leaves. He is also resigning from his position at CNN’s parent company, WarnerMedia, LLC, as chairman of news and sports.

The situation has the potential to slow or halt some upcoming business plans that WarnerMedia and CNN were working on under their parent company, AT&T Inc.

WarnerMedia was on the brink of being acquired by Discovery Inc. when the news of Zucker’s resignation broke. Under Zucker, CNN was also working on a new streaming platform, CNN+. It is uncertain how this new platform will proceed.

Jason Kilar, WarnerMedia’s CEO, announced that CNN executives Michael Bass, Amy Entelis and Ken Jautz will jointly lead CNN for the time being in Zucker’s absence.