CNN boss Jeff Zucker’s son, 15, resigns hours after it’s revealed Cory Booker’s start up put him on the advisory board and gave him stock options

  • Cory Booker helped found a video  aggregation start up site called Waywire
  • Financial disclosure forms show that he  appointed Jeff Zucker’s 15-year-old son Andrew on the company’s advisory  board
  • Andrew has since quit after his role was  publicized
  • Google’s Eric Schmidt and Booker pal  Oprah Winfrey are both investors
  • Booker is now running for the empty New  Jersey Senate spot

By  Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 12:36 EST, 7  August 2013 |  UPDATED: 17:03 EST, 7 August 2013

The 15-year-old son of CNN president Jeff  Zucker has resigned from his position on the advisory board of Cory Booker’s  start-up after it was revealed that the teenager had a leadership role in the  company and receiving stock options for his work.

Hours after the news broke that Zucker’s  teenage son Andrew was listed as a member of the video aggregation start-up, a  CNN spokesman said that he resigned from the company.

The spokesperson also made a concerted effort  to distance Booker, the current Newark mayor who is running for the open New  Jersey Senate seat, from the decision to bring the younger Zucker on board.

Her idea: Sarah Ross is said to be the one who approached Jeff Zucker's son Andrew (seen with his father at left in 2009) to be a member of the advisory board of Cory Booker's start-up WaywireConnected: Andrew Zucker, who is now 14 but is pictured here with his father Jeff in 2009, is listed as a member of Waywire's advisory board

 

Her idea: Sarah Ross is said to be the one who  approached Jeff Zucker’s son Andrew (seen with his father at left in 2009) to be  a member of the advisory board of Cory Booker’s start-up Waywire

 

Public face: Cory Booker, the current mayor of Newark, New Jersey who is now running for Senate, is the founder of a video aggregation start up and he stands to make $1million to $5million out of the company 

Public face: Cory Booker, the current mayor of Newark,  New Jersey who is now running for Senate, is the founder of a video aggregation  start up and he stands to make $1million to $5million out of the  company

They said instead that it was Sarah Ross, a  tech executive with close ties to Silicon Valley, who approached Andrew and  asked him to provide some analysis for the Booker’s start-up Waywire because the  teenager is apparently known for his insight into popular trends among  teens.

Teenage tech whiz: Andrew Zucker, seen in 2009, resigned from his post on the company's board hours after the news broke 

Teenage tech whiz: Andrew Zucker, seen in 2009, resigned  from his post on the company’s board hours after the news broke

 

CNN  Money reported on Wednesday that  Andrew’s name was suggested to Ms Ross by another Waywire board member after  they heard that the teen had been helping his dad when it came to tech branding  issues for the cable news giant.

Ms Ross then had a conversation with both  Jeff and Andrew Zucker and they agreed to have the now-15-year-old sign on to  Waywire’s advisory board and receive a ‘de minimus’ amount of stock options in  return.

An unidentified source told CNN Money that  Booker himself was ‘not involved at all’ with the decision, and Ms Ross herself  admitted at an early stage that the politician would not be a part of the  day-to-day operations of the start up.

The New York Times reports that even in the  nascent phase, it was clear among the founders that Booker would be a more  public role.

When the launched the company, Ms Ross  reportedly said to Booker: ‘You know  what? You should do it, found the company.  Obviously you don’t have to  be involved — you’ve got a full-time job. But found  the company.’

The financial disclosure indicates that his  ownership stake could earn him  anywhere between $1million and $5million, but  the company does not  appear anywhere near ready to turn over such a profit.

 

Unlike many of the other boldface names  connected to Waywire, like Oprah Winfrey and Google’s Eric Schmidt, it does not  seem as if the elder Zucker actually has any financial stake in the company.

 

Very little has previously been revealed  about the start up, which was officially created in May 2012.

Promoting the brand: If Booker wins, he will have to resign from the board of Waywire and stop promoting it from his well-followed Twitter feed 

Promoting the brand: If Booker wins, he will have to  resign from the board of Waywire and stop promoting it from his well-followed  Twitter feed

 

Famous funders: Google's Eric Schmidt (left) was the first one to invest money in Waywire, and Booker's close friend Oprah Winfrey (right) followed shortly afterFamous funders: Google's Eric Schmidt (left) was the first one to invest money in Waywire, and Booker's close friend Oprah Winfrey (right) followed shortly after

Famous funders: Google’s Eric Schmidt (left) was the  first one to invest money in Waywire, and Booker’s close friend Oprah Winfrey  (right) followed shortly after

 

Now The New York Times was able to shed some light on the company’s structure because Booker  had to  submit a financial report showing his ownership of the company  due to the  stipulations for Senate candidates.

Booker reportedly came up with the idea for  the company, whose mission is to  effectively become a different iteration of  YouTube where the work of  up-and-coming students is highlighted, while meeting  with Ms Ross and  Nathan Richardson.

Ms Ross  is best known for her work behind  the social media scenes, and is  credited by The Times as being the one that  helped Ashton Kutcher  achieve his record-breaking number of followers.

‘I see high school kids who are doing  incredible videos, but their voices  are not breaking into the national  conversation,’ Booker said of his  inspiration for Waywire.

Connected: Sarah Ross, seen here talking with Booker and trailed by Mark Zuckerberg, is well known in Silicon Valley 

Connected: Sarah Ross, seen here talking with Booker and  trailed by Mark Zuckerberg, is well known in Silicon Valley

 

Booker’s involvement in the project has not  been a secret, as he used his name  and public image as a way to gain more than  a million dollars from early investors.

He said it was  easy to raise the  $1.75million worth of seed money for the venture  ‘because of the power of the  idea’. He said nothing of his rising power  on the national political stage.

Schmidt was the first investor in the  company, and Booker’s close friend Oprah followed suit.

For Booker’s part, he may not be able to be  involved in the company much  longer. If he wins the Senate race in November, he  will be forced to  withdraw from Waywire’s board.

The Times reports that they already had to go  through a round of layoffs, but two staffers taht are still around are Andrew  Zucker and an unidentified son of one of a Booker supporter who is now employed  by Booker’s Senate campaign.

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