Allison Gollust resigns from CNN nearly 2 weeks after Jeff Zucker quits
Allison Gollust is leaving her post as chief marketing officer for CNN, according to the network.
Jason Kilar, the CEO of the network’s parent company WarnerMedia, announced Gollus’ resignation in a memo to staff on Tuesday evening.
The news comes nearly two weeks after Jeff Zucker resigned as CNN president for failing to disclose his romantic relationship with Gollust, and just over two months after Chris Cuomo was terminated by network.
“Earlier today, Allison Gollus resigned from CNN following the conclusion of the company’s investigation into issues related to Chris Cuomo and former Governor Andrew Cuomo,” the memo read. “Based on interviews with more than 40 people and a review of more than 100,000 text messages and emails, the investigation revealed violations of company policies, including compliance standards and practices. information from CNN, by Jeff Zucker, Allison Gollust and Chris Cuomo.”
Kilar said the “full and final” investigation was “conducted by a third-party law firm and led by a former federal judge” beginning in September and ending this weekend.
“I realize this news is disturbing, disappointing and frankly painful to read. These are valid feelings that many of you have,” Kilar wrote. “We have the highest standards of journalistic integrity at CNN, and those rules should apply to everyone equally.”
The CEO also noted that he believes “we have taken the right steps” and asked all employees to “commit to the vital mission we share and the values that define us.”
RELATED: Katie Couric Speaks Out After Jeff Zucker Resigns, Says Many ‘Inappropriate Behaviors’ Were Ignored
In a statement to PEOPLE, Gollus spoke about his exit, calling WarnerMedia’s statement “an attempt to retaliate against me and change the media narrative following their disastrous handling of the past two weeks.”
“It is deeply disappointing that after spending the past nine years upholding and upholding CNN’s highest standards of journalistic integrity, I am being treated this way as I leave,” she added. “But I do it with my head held high, knowing that I have given my heart and soul to work with the best journalists in the world.”
A CNN spokesperson did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Cuomo, 51, was terminated by CNN in December. The network announced the decision in a statement at the time, noting that “additional information has come to light” while assessing the journalist’s involvement in defending his brother Andrew Cuomo, who resigned as governor of New York in August following allegations of sexual misconduct.
On February 2, Zucker, 56, announced his resignation from his longtime role in a memo. In the memo, he explained that the decision to quit was made after failing to disclose a “consensual relationship” with a colleague. At the time, Zucker did not reveal Gollus’ identity.
“I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for over 20 years,” the statement read. “I acknowledged that the relationship has evolved over the past few years. I was required to disclose this when it began, but I did not. I was wrong. Accordingly, I am resigning today.”
Mike Groll/AP/Shutterstock; ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Allison Gollust and Jeff Zucker
Reflecting on his time on the network, Zucker added that he wishes his former colleagues “all the best in the years to come.”
A second email to Kilar’s staff said Zucker’s resignation had been “accepted.”
“We thank Jeff for his contributions over the past 9 years,” the statement continued, per CNN. “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.”
Gollust later spoke about Zucker’s resignation in a statement shared with PEOPLE and expressed “regret” that the couple didn’t tell their employer about their romance.
“Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years,” his statement read. “Recently our relationship changed during COVID. I regret that we didn’t reveal it at the right time.”
Gollust added, “I’m incredibly proud of my time at CNN and look forward to continuing the great work we do every day.”
J.Countess/Getty jeff zucker
A source previously told PEOPLE that the situation surrounding Zucker’s resignation had unfolded “very, very, very quickly” and that he was given an ultimatum by Kilar after confirming his relationship with Gollus: quit or be fired.
“[Zucker and Gollust] were asked about their relationship as part of the Cuomo investigation and they answered honestly and it was the first time they had disclosed it to anyone,” the insider said. “And it was a problem because Jeff was required to disclose it in the beginning. “
The source was also adamant that Zucker and Gollus’ relationship turned romantic about a year ago, despite reports to the contrary. “It was an open secret and I haven’t even worked there in 8 years,” said former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien. tweeted.)
As to why Gollust chose to stay at CNN, the source said Zucker “was the one who violated the policy and she didn’t.”
Following Gollus’ resignation this week and the suggestion that the behavior of Zucker, Gollus and the Cuomos are linked, Zucker’s source said Zucker is “prohibited” from commenting further under his own ousting from the company.
But, the source notes, WarnerMedia had expressly endorsed his own earlier statement regarding his departure due to his secret relationship with Gollust.
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Prior to her resignation and romance announcement, Katie Couric mentioned Zucker and Gollus’ close bond in her October 2021 memoir, Go. Couric, 65, said Zucker “made a huge effort to bring in Allison Gollus” during his tenure at NBCUniversal, where the broadcast reporter was previously employed while hosting the NBC show. TODAY from 1991 to 2006.
“When we worked together at NBC, she and Jeff dreamed up even bolder ways to draw attention to TODAY and later Jeff himself when he moved on to entertainment,” she said. wrote. “They were tied at the hip. The problem was that we had already hired a PR person for the show. There was no role for Allison. Jeff asked me to meet her anyway.”
Couric also recalled when Gollus “and her husband and children moved into the apartment above” the one where Zucker and his now ex-wife, Caryn Nathanson, lived. (Zucker and Nathanson, who share four children together, were married from 1996 to 2019.)
“Anyone who heard of the cozy arrangement thought it was super weird,” she continued. ” At this moment, [Zucker’s then-wife] Caryn had become a close friend and it made me really uncomfortable.”
Later, addressing her earlier comments in her “Wake-Up Call” newsletter, Couric admitted that she was “questioning the nature of their relationship.” She added: “It seems that their colleagues and the media in general have turned a blind eye to inappropriate behavior.”