Burbank, California – The Walt Disney Company [NYSE: DIS] announced on March 24 that ABC News President Ben Sherwood will assume the title of co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group on February 1, 2015. Anne Sweeney, Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks and President, Disney/ABC Television Group, will remain in that capacity through January 2015.
Effective immediately, Sherwood will begin the transition as Co-President, Disney/ABC Television Group. He will also continue to oversee ABC News until a successor is named.
In making the announcement, Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said, “Ben is one of those unique executives who combine rich creative experience with great business acumen. He’s also focused, strategic, and competitive, as evidenced by the success of GMA, the Yahoo deal that delivered ABC News online dominance, and his vision behind our new cable and digital joint venture, Fusion. These reasons, and many others, make Ben the ideal candidate to oversee the future of the Disney/ABC Television Group.”
Sweeney added, “It was Ben’s intense passion and incredible insight that made us confident he’d do great things as President of ABC News. Over the years, he has moved from success-to-success and helped create a more vibrant, collaborative and powerful News division that embraces innovation and risk-taking. Ben’s now set to bring those same attributes to bear for the larger Group, and I could not be more thrilled. This announcement simply highlights the fact that our talent and succession planning process works.”
Sherwood stated, “I am honoured and humbled that Bob has entrusted me with this great responsibility and amazing opportunity. I’m also deeply grateful to Anne, who has built and led a powerhouse division over the last 10 years. I am looking forward to her counsel and wisdom during this transition period. I must also thank the remarkable people of ABC News who inspire me every day with their creativity, dedication and spirit. I will keep their commitment to excellence and their fierce competitiveness firmly in mind as I move forward to meet this exciting new challenge.”
Award-winning journalist, best-selling author and digital media entrepreneur Ben Sherwood was named president of ABC News in December 2010. He is responsible for all aspects of ABC News’ broadcasts, including World News with Diane Sawyer, Nightline, Good Morning America, 20/20 and This Week with George Stephanopoulos. In addition, Sherwood oversees ABC News Radio, ABCNEWS.com, satellite service NewsOne and ABC News NOW. ABC News reaches a combined audience of well over 270 million people a month on television, on radio and online.
In October 2011, ABC News launched a ground-breaking partnership with Yahoo! to create the #1 news and information network online, reaching nearly 100 million people and serving up to half a billion videos a month. The online network has been on top for the past 25 months and counting.
ABC News reached an historic milestone in 2012 when Good Morning America snapped NBC’s 16-year winning streak in the mornings to become America’s #1 morning program, a title the show still holds today.
In 2013, ABC News and Univision launched Fusion, a joint news and lifestyle network to serve and empower U.S. Hispanics, the youngest and fastest growing demographic in America.
Sherwood launched his journalistic career when he joined ABC News in 1989, serving as an investigative associate producer and producer for ABC News’ PrimeTime Live with anchors Diane Sawyer and Sam Donaldson. In 1997, Mr. Sherwood joined NBC’s Nightly News with Tom Brokaw as broadcast producer responsible for “In Depth” reports, then senior producer, and ultimately senior broadcast producer.
Sherwood returned to ABC News in April 2004 as executive producer of the network’s award-winning morning program, Good Morning America. Sherwood guided GMA to ratings success, attracting new viewers while overseeing prize-winning coverage of the tsunami in Southeast Asia, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the presidential election of 2004.