(Fwrd Axis) — CNN President Jeff Zucker announced his resignation on Wednesday after he failed to disclose a relationship with a close colleague.
Zucker said he would be stepping down after nine years at the helm of the network in an email to the company. The decision came after he was asked about a “consensual relationship with my closest colleague” as part of an investigation into former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.
“I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years,” Zucker said. “I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong. As a result, I am resigning today.”
Despite Zucker’s email not naming the person he was in a relationship with, Stelter confirmed it was Allison Gollust, CNN’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Gollust would later come clean about her relationship with Zucker in a separate memo.
“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 every day.”
CNN host Don Lemon told Variety that he was devastated over Zucker’s departure.
“I just think so highly of Jeff, and he is the best boss we have ever had, and one of the best things that has ever happened to CNN,” Lemon said. “There are probably going to be a lot of nervous people at CNN because Jeff is really the glue there.”
The news of Zucker’s departure comes at a trying time for the network, who is still looking for a replacement for Chris Cuomo’s time slot after the anchor was fired late last year after helping his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, against sexual misconduct allegations.