Jeff Zuker, CNN Worldwide president, the prominent news executive, announced on Wednesday morning that he had resigned from his position.
The surprising announcement was disclosed less than two months after he fired Chris Cumo, a renowned time anchor. The anchor was fired due to advising his brother inappropriately, then New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for addressing sexual misconduct.
Zucker did not name his colleague, but the relationship is with Allison Gollust, who has been his key lieutenant for the last two decades. Gollust is still at CNN.
The two started working together at NBC in 1998. Both achieved the ranks at the network together. Zucker joined CNN and Gollust was among his first of few hires. Before joining CNN Gollust was employed as communications director for Andrew Cuomo. Currently, she is executive vice president and chief marketing officer at CNN.
“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 every day,” said Gollust, in one of her statements.
Gollust and Zucker had divorced from their respective partners years ago. There have been rumors that their professional relationship had turned into a love affair.
The news of Zucker’s resignation came out as a huge shock to CNN and across the industry. The CNN employees were clueless about the email that was about to land in their inboxes after 11 A.M ET.
Zucker, while speaking to some of CNN’s top executives on Wednesday morning indicated that he would have liked to continue for a short period, however, WarnerMedia had wished otherwise.
As per two people involved in the issue, Zucker was facing termination if he had not resigned.
Zucker led the network as it faced attacks from former President Donald Trump and his followers. With Zucker’s initiative “Facts First” slogan was adopted by CNN and called out Trump for his lies, without any reluctance. This had made Zucker, Trump’s one of the biggest rivals.