Feb 2, 2022 - Economy

CNN boss Jeff Zucker resigns

Jeff Zucker in 2018. Photo: Robert Marquardt/Getty Images

CNN boss Jeff Zucker shocked the media world Wednesday by announcing he is resigning from CNN, the company that he’s led since 2013, because of a relationship with a longtime senior colleague that he failed to disclose.

Why it matters: Zucker is one of the most powerful executives in the industry and was a driving force behind CNN's new push into digital subscriptions.

Details: In a note to staff tweeted by senior media correspondent Brian Stelter, Zucker said that as a part of CNN's investigation into Chris Cuomo last year, he was asked about a consensual relationship with a colleague, someone he has worked with for more than 20 years.

  • "I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began and I didn't. I was wrong. As a result, I am resigning today.
  • CNN did not immediately return a request for comment.

The relationship, Axios has confirmed, was with Allison Gollust, the chief marketing officer for CNN. One source called the affair "an open secret" at the network.

  • In a memo obtained by CNN, Gollust 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."
  • Prior to joining CNN, Gollust served as communications director for former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In an email to staffers, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said he accepted Zucker's resignation. He later said in a different note to staff obtained by Axios that CNN executives Michael Bass, Amy Entelis and Ken Jautz will serve as "interim co-heads for CNN."

Between the lines: Zucker's tenure at CNN has been debated among media insiders for years. It was reported that he was eyeing an exit from CNN last year.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

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