CNN president Jeff Zucker, a leading proponent of forthcoming streaming service CNN Plus, has resigned from the company following the discovery of a consensual relationship with another high-ranking executive.
The relationship, which was not disclosed internally when it began, was discovered as part of an investigation into conduct by former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. Cuomo was fired from the network in December following a probe into his own involvement in the handling of sexual harassment allegations against his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Zucker reportedly had a consensual relationship with EVP and chief marketing officer Allison Gollust, who will remain in her position at the company, the New York Times reported. CNN’s chief media correspondent Brian Stelter shared a copy of Zucker’s internal note to staff.
“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.”
He added, “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.”
In a statement obtained by Stelter, Gollust wrote that after remaining “close friends and professional partners for over 20 years,” their “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.”
It’s unclear how the resignation might impact the roadmaps of CNN Plus or the forthcoming merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery. Zucker had said last year that CNN Plus would “offer consumers a streaming product that grows the reach and scope of the CNN brand in a way that no one else is doing. Nothing like this exists.”