Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN, has resigned after failing to disclose a sexual relationship with a top colleague.
Mr Zucker, 56, said in a note to coworkers that he was “wrong” for failing to declare the connection as required.
During an inquiry into the actions of ousted CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, the link was found.
Mr. Zucker is regarded as one of America’s most prominent media CEOs.
Mr Zucker claimed he was asked about his consensual relationship with a colleague during an inquiry into Mr Cuomo’s tenure at CNN in a note written to the network’s personnel on Wednesday and uploaded online by CNN media journalist Brian Stelter.
Mr Cuomo was under investigation for assisting his politician brother, former New York governor Andrew Cuomo, in fighting sexual harassment charges.
Mr Zucker claimed he’d known the colleague for two decades and that their connection had “changed in recent years.”
He explained, “I was obligated to declare it when it began, but I didn’t.” “I was mistaken. As a result, I’m stepping down today.”
The colleague with whom Mr Zucker had a connection was not named in Mr Zucker’s message, but CNN identified her as Allison Gollust, the network’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
“For almost 20 years, Jeff and I have been dear friends and working colleagues,” she said in a statement read on the air by Mr Stelter. “Our relationship has just transformed as a result of Covid. We didn’t reveal it at the appropriate moment, which I regret.”
During Mr Zucker’s tenure as CEO of NBC Universal, Ms Gollust worked as an executive.
Ms. Gollust was appointed as Andrew Cuomo’s communications director in 2012. After barely four months in that position, she moved on to CNN the next year.
Ms Gollust stated in her statement that she wanted to remain with the network. According to the New York Times, she and Mr Zucker are both divorced.
In 2013, Mr. Zucker joined CNN. It smashed audience records in 2020 under his leadership, and in January 2021, it had the highest viewers in its history, thanks in part to the US Capitol riot on January 6th.
According to Nielsen figures, viewing has declined since then, plummeting roughly 90% this January compared to the same period last year.
Those who thought CNN devoted too much publicity to the former president, particularly during the Republican presidential race, chastised Mr Zucker. Mr. Trump has often chastised what he considers to be biased reporting.
He approved Donald Trump’s reality TV show “The Apprentice” while at NBC.