On Wednesday, Jeff Zucker stepped down as president of CNN and chairman of WarnerMedia’s news and sports divisions, writing in a memo that he failed to disclose to the company a romantic relationship with an executive. other senior executives at CNN.
Mr. Zucker, 56, is one of the most powerful leaders in the American television and media industry. The abrupt end of his nine-year tenure immediately set off the direction of CNN and its parent company, WarnerMedia, which is expected to be acquired later this year by Discovery Inc. in one of the nation’s largest media mergers.
In a memo sent to colleagues obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Zucker wrote that his relationship arose during a cyber investigation into the conduct of Mr. Chris CuomoCNN host who was fired in December for his involvement in the political affairs of his brother, the former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York.
“As part of an investigation into Chris Cuomo’s tenure at CNN, I was asked about my consensual relationship with my closest colleague, with whom I have worked for more than 20 years,” said Mr. Zucker. write. “I admit the relationship has grown in recent years. I was asked to reveal it when it started but I didn’t. I’m wrong.”
“As a result, I will resign today,” he wrote.
Mr. Zucker was referring to Allison Gollust, CNN’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer and one of the network’s most senior leaders who is closely involved in business and communications decisions. big.
Ms. Gollust said in a statement on Wednesday that she remained in her role at CNN.
“Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years,” she wrote. “Recently, our relationship has changed under Covid. I’m sorry we didn’t reveal it at the right time. I am incredibly proud of my time at CNN and look forward to continuing the great work we do every day. ”
Both Mr. Zucker and Mrs. Gollust are divorced.
In a memo sent to WarnerMedia employees, Jason Kilar, the company’s chief executive officer, acknowledged that he had accepted Mr. Zucker’s resignation, adding, “We will announce it soon.” an interim leadership plan”.
Mr. Cuomo objected to the terms of his departure from CNN, which said they would not pay him severance or honor the remainder of his current contract. The company hired Hollywood powerhouse attorney Bryan Freedman to represent him in negotiations with the network.
Mr. Zucker has stood by Mr. Cuomo for months after it was revealed that the curator had advised Andrew Cuomo aides on how the governor could combat the sexual harassment scandal that led to his death. resignation. But Mr. Zucker dropped his support in December after more details became available about Mr. Cuomo’s involvement, including an effort to uncover the status of pending articles at the facilities. other news about his brother.
Days before Mr. Cuomo was fired, CNN was informed of an allegation of sexual misconduct against Mr. Cuomo by a former junior colleague at another network. Mr. Cuomo has denied that allegation.
In an industry known for his media talent, Mr. Zucker is perhaps the most recognizable figure among behind-the-scenes executives. He’s become the public face of CNN in large part because he has a public relationship with former President Donald J. Trump, with whom he once shared a friendlier relationship: as host NBC Entertainment President, Mr. Zucker made the decision to hand over the power to Mr. Trump. reality TV star with “The Apprentice.”
Mr. Zucker became the chief executive officer of NBCUniversal in 2007 before leaving the company in 2010. He joined CNN in January 2013. In recent months, Mr. Zucker has been heavily involved in the work. shape CNN +a subscription streaming service set to begin this spring.
“Together, we have had nine wonderful years,” Zucker wrote in his memo Wednesday. “I certainly wish my tenure here had ended otherwise. But it was an incredible run. And I fell in love with every minute.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/02/business/media/jeff-zucker-cnn.html Jeff Zucker Resigns From CNN After Relationship With Top CEO