Who is Allison Gollust, CNN exec in secret relationship with Jeff Zucker?

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Who is Allison Gollust, CNN exec in secret relationship with Jeff Zucker?

The CNN executive who’s allegedly been in a secret relationship with Jeff Zucker for years is a longtime public relations specialist who’s spent her career working in television. 

Zucker, 56, announced he was retiring from the network Wednesday morning after he failed to disclose his relationship with Gollust to CNN and said it came to light during the station’s probe into Chris Cuomo’s sexual misconduct allegations. 

Gollust, 49, claimed she and Zucker had long been friends but their relationship changed amid the pandemic — a claim CNN insiders blasted as a “bold faced lie.” 

Here’s everything we know about Gollust. 

Professional background

Gollust got her start as a news anchor, reporter and producer in Denver before moving to the Big Apple and hitting it big with NBC News, according to her bio on CNN

She started at the network’s corporate communications office in 1996 and the following year, was named senior publicist for “Today.” 

CNN chief Jeff Zucker resigned from the cable network after failing to disclose his relationship with CNN’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer Allison Gollust.
CNN chief Jeff Zucker resigned from the cable network after failing to disclose his relationship with CNN’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer Allison Gollust.
Jason Mendez/Invision/AP

At the time, Zucker was the executive producer of the ratings juggernaut and the two worked hand-in-hand to bring attention to the show, Katie Couric wrote in her blistering tell-all “Going There.” 

As Zucker was promoted to NBC Entertainment’s president, Gollust continued to climb the corporate ladder in the network’s public relations department. 

“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,” Gollust’s CNN bio states. 

Gollust previously worked at NBC at the same time as Zucker.
Gollust previously worked at NBC at the same time as Zucker.

She rose to become NBC Universal’s executive vice president of corporate communications but left around the same time Zucker did when Comcast purchased the network. 

Gollust briefly left the TV world behind in 2012 for a stint as former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s communications director. In a statement at the time, the disgraced politician called her a “a consummate professional who has a wealth of experience in communications and management.”

Just four months later, Zucker tapped Gollust to become CNN’s senior vice president of communications at CNN, about a month after he became president of CNN Worldwide. 

Gollust left the television industry in 2012 to work as former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s communications director.
Gollust left the television industry in 2012 to work as former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s communications director.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

That October, Gollust was promoted to chief marketing officer at CNN and later became an executive vice president at the network, but it’s not clear when that promotion happened. 

Gollust’s history with Zucker

Gollust started working with Zucker when the two were at NBC News in the 1990s. While Zucker was executive producer of Today, Gollust was promoted as the show’s lead publicist.

They continued to work together throughout their professional career and for years, television insiders suspected their friendship was a lot more than they were letting on.

Soledad O’Brien, a former CNN anchor, wrote on Twitter Wednesday Gollust and Zucker’s relationship was “an open secret.”  

Zucker and Gollust at a Billy Joel concert at Madison Square Garden on November 5, 2021.
Zucker and Gollust at a Billy Joel concert at Madison Square Garden on November 5, 2021.
Jeff Elbaum

“I encourage you to google the two parties and read the details about their relationship that dates back years. That said, I’m sure company emails can easily determine if she’s lying in this statement,” O’Brien wrote, referencing Gollust’s statement that claimed her and Zucker only started hooking up during the pandemic.

“Again—It was an open secret and I haven’t even worked there for like 8 years.” 

Personal life

Prior to her relationship with Zucker, she was married to William Hult, public records show.

Gollust was previously married to William Hult before her relationship with Zucker.
Gollust was previously married to William Hult before her relationship with Zucker.
AP Photo/Mike Groll, File

Hult, who goes by Billy, is currently the president of Tradeweb Markets, an international financial services firm, according to the company’s website. 

Hult and Gollust filed for divorce in 2015 and the case was settled in 2017, according to court records.

The two share two children together.

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