The CNN president was asked about the relationship during an investigation into sexual misconduct spurred by former CNN host Chris Cuomo.
Jeff Zucker resigned Wednesday as president of CNN, a position he has held since 2013.
Zucker’s resignation shocked staff during a crucial time, as its parent company WarnerMedia completes a merger with Discovery and launches a new streaming network called CNN+.
His resignation is also another piece of fallout brought about by an investigation into former CNN host Chris Cuomo, who was fired for defending his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, against sexual misconduct allegations, and who later was accused of sexual misconduct himself.
In a statement to staff, Zucker said he didn’t disclose the start of a relationship with a colleague that “evolved in recent years.” Zucker was asked about the relationship during the investigation of Chris Cuomo’s tenure at the network.
“I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong,” Zucker, 56, wrote in the memo.
Zucker didn’t name the colleague, but he was referring to a relationship with Allison Gollust, CNN’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, The New York Times reported.
Gollust said she was remaining in her role. “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,” Gollust wrote, according to The New York Times.
Prior to joining CNN, Gollust served as communications director for Andrew Cuomo when he was governor of New York, according to a bio.
Gollust and Zucker have known each other for decades, having worked together at NBCUniversal in the past. They are both divorced, according to The New York Times.
At the beginning of 2021, Gollust was even being considered to replace Zucker at CNN if he stepped down as president at the end of that year, as he had considered, NBC reported in February 2021.
Chris Cuomo was fired from CNN in December 2021 for helping to defend his brother, Andrew Cuomo, in the governor’s sexual misconduct investigation. Chris Cuomo was then separately accused of sexual misconduct, which he denied.
Jason Kilar, the CEO of CNN parent company WarnerMedia, emailed staff shortly after Zucker’s memo. “I have accepted Jeff Zucker’s resignation as Chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports, and President of CNN Worldwide. We thank Jeff for his contributions over the past 9 years,” he wrote, according to CNN.