Allison Gollust was identified as the person with whom CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker had a consensual relationship, leading to his resignation announced Wednesday morning, February 2, 2022, according to CNN.
Gollust’s career began in Denver, where she worked as an anchor, producer and reporter, according to her CNN profile. Neither Gollust nor Zucker is married. The Sun reported they are both divorced. Gollust has an ex-husband, Billy Hult, and Zucker has an ex-wife, Caryn Zucker. The Zuckers were divorced in 2018.
Gollust wrote in a statement that her relationship with Zucker turned romantic during the pandemic.
“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. I’m incredibly proud of my time at CNN and look forward to continuing the great work we do everyday,” the statement said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Katie Couric Wrote in her Memoir That Zucker Pushed Hard to Hire Gollust & That The Two Were ‘Joined at the Hip’
Couric wrote in her memoir, “Going There,” about Zucker’s relationship with Gollust before they both began working at CNN. Zucker became president of the company in 1998. Before that, Couric and Zucker were working for NBC. Couric wrote that “Jeff made a huge push to bring on” Gollust for the TODAY show, but they had already hired a PR person, Couric wrote. Zucker and Gollust were “joined at the hip,” her memoir said. Zucker orchestrated a meeting between Gollust and Couric after Couric told Zucker they did not have a job available for Gollust on TODAY, she wrote. At the meeting with Gollust, Couric said again that there was not a job available for Gollust.
Both Zucker and Gollust were married at the time, and Gollust’s family moved into an apartment above Zucker and his wife, Caryn Zucker, Couric wrote.
“I had to wonder why Jeff was angling so hard to bring Allison on board,” Couric wrote. “She and her husband and kids had moved into the apartment right about Jeff and Caryn’s–everyone who heard about the arrangement thought it was super-strange. By that point, Caryn had become a close friend and it made me really uncomfortable.”
Couric wrote that later, Zucker was fired, and he asked Couric to put in a good word for him at CNN, which was looking for a new president. He said if she wanted it, there would be a job for her too, Couric wrote, paraphrasing a conversation from the late 1990s.
“On November 29th, Jeff was named president of CNN. His first hire? Allison Gollust,” Couric wrote. “Oh, and I never did hear from him about that job.”
2. Gollust Was Married to Billy Hult & She Has Two Daughters Who Live With Her in New York
Gollust’s CNN profile mentions her two daughters, who live with her in New York, but makes no mention of a husband. The personal information revealed in her profile is brief, with two sentences about the start of her career and her current life.
“She began her career as a news anchor, reporter and producer in Denver. Gollust resides in New York City with her two daughters,” it says.
The Sun reported that Gollust was married to Billy Hult, the president of Tradeweb. It says that they were divorced, but does not say when their marriage ended. They have two daughters together, Olivia and Ava, The Sun reported.
Zucker was also married and divorced, according to The Sun. He was married to Caryn Zucker in 1996 and they divorced in 2018, the publication said.
3. Gollust Was Zucker’s Key Lieutenant at CNN for More Than 20 Years
CNN Business described Gollust as Zucker’s “key lieutenant” in the article in which they identified Gollust.
“Zucker did not name his colleague, but the relationship is with Allison Gollust, his key lieutenant for the last two decades. Gollust is remaining at CNN,” the article said. “Zucker and Gollust began working together at NBC in 1998. They rose through the ranks at the network together, and when Zucker joined CNN, Gollust was among his first hires.”
Gollust’s CNN profile says her role involves serving as chief spokesperson.
“Gollust serves as chief spokesperson for the news brand and leads marketing, publicity and public relations teams in New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Los Angeles,” her bio says. “Her role as CMO gives her responsibility for brand strategy and marketing efforts for all of the brands within the CNN Worldwide portfolio. Gollust oversees CNN’s creative marketing, events, on-air promotions, off-channel and digital marketing efforts as well.”
4. Gollust Previously Worked For NBC & Briefly as Communications Director for Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Gollust got her start in Denver before working in communications for NBC Universal, according to her CNN bio. She also worked as the senior publicist for Today, her profile says. With NBC Universal, “she oversaw all aspects of the company’s global communications efforts,” her bio says.
“She started at NBC in the Corporate Communications group in 1996 and was named senior publicist for Today in 1997. With successive promotions, Gollust added responsibility for communications efforts supporting NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC and the Weather Channel, and signature programs including NBC Nightly News, Dateline and Meet the Press,” her bio says.
Another of Gollust’s previous positions was working as communications director for then-New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Cuomo was accused of sexual harassment by 11 women, including some who worked in his office, according to an investigative report from the State of New York Office of the Attorney General Letitia James. Among the allegations were accusations of Cuomo touching women inappropriately. CNN Business wrote that Gollust worked only briefly for Cuomo.
5. The Relationship Was Disclosed During Zucker’s Investigation of Chris Cuomo
Zucker fired prime time anchor Chris Cuomo about two months before his resignation, and it was then that the relationship was officially revealed, according to CNN. Chris Cuomo was fired after advising his brother, then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, about how to handle sexual assault allegations lodged against him.
During the investigation into Chris Cuomo, Zucker was asked about “a relationship with his closest colleague,” Zucker wrote in a memo to employees. He continued, saying that they had worked together for more than 20 years and that their relationship had “evolved” over that time. He did not disclose the relationship when it began as he was required to do, saying that the relationship started “in recent years.”
“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. I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong. As a result, I am resigning today,” the memo said, according to CNN.