CNN (T -0.4%) chief Jeff Zucker has stunned the organization by resigning today, citing an undisclosed relationship with an employee.
"As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo's tenure at CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years," Zucker says in a note.
"I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but it didn't. I was wrong," Zucker continues. "As a result, I am resigning today."
Zucker has been with CNN since January 2013.
That relationship is with CNN's chief marketing officer, Allison Gollust, CNN's Brian Stelter reports.
"Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years," Gollust says in a statement read by Stelter. "Recently our relationship changed during Covid."
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar says: "I have accepted Jeff Zucker's resignation as Chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports, and President of CNN Worldwide ... We will be announcing an interim leadership plan shortly. Both of these organizations are at the top of their respective games and are well prepared for their next chapters."
Zucker's long tenure atop the news organization has been a discussion subject frequently over the past few years. First came speculation about whether he would stay at CNN through changes at AT&T. In 2018 he was expected to stay at CNN through the 2020 election. In 2019 he was reported to be in pole position to take over WarnerMedia (a position that went to former Hulu chief Kilar).
After the 2020 election, Zucker was then expected to depart the news network in early 2021. That was before later reporting that had him staying in the post until the end of 2021, and then that he would stay put through the closing of the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger.