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Ben Sherwood to Succeed Anne Sweeney as President of Disney/ABC Television Group

Ben SherwoodABC News president Ben Sherwood will succeed Anne Sweeney as the president of the Disney/ABC Television group next year, Disney announced today. Sherwood will begin the transition immediately and take on the role of Co-President of Disney/ABC while also overseeing ABC News until his successor is named.

“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,” Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said in a statement.

Sherwood has been the president of ABC News since 2010. Under his leadership, “Good Morning America” snapped the “Today” show’s 16-year winning streak. In a statement, he thanked Iger and Sweeney for their leadership, and ABC News staffers for their dedication.

“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,” he said.

The official announcement, as well as the internal note to ABC staffers from Sweeney, is after the jump.

BURBANK, Calif.– The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) today announced that ABC News President Ben Sherwood, who successfully steered ABC News to new heights over the past several years, including driving “Good Morning America” to #1, brokering a landmark partnership with Yahoo to create the #1 news and information online network, and launching Fusion, a joint venture news and lifestyle network with Univision, 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, Mr. 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.”

Ms. 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.”

Mr. Sherwood stated, “I am honored 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, Mr. 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, and is enjoying significant audience growth, driven by a creative renaissance and innovative deal-making.

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.

In addition, during Mr. Sherwood’s tenure, the news division has won the most prestigious honors in the industry, including George Polk, George Foster Peabody, News and Documentary Emmy, Edward R. Murrow, Overseas Press Club, SPJ Sigma Delta Chi and Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards.

Mr. 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.

Mr. Sherwood returned to ABC News in April 2004 as executive producer of the network’s award-winning morning program, “Good Morning America.” Mr. 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.

The author of two critically acclaimed best-selling novels: “The Man Who Ate the 747″ (2000) and “The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud” (2004), Mr. Sherwood’s fiction has been published around the world in more than 15 languages. In addition, Mr. Sherwood’s journalism and non-fiction essays have been published in many respected publications, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, New Republic, Washington Monthly, Parade and O magazine. In July 2010, “The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud” was adapted as a feature film starring Zac Efron and released by Universal Pictures under the title “Charlie St. Cloud.”

Mr. Sherwood’s latest bestseller, “The Survivors Club,” is a non-fiction exploration of the science and secrets of who bounces back from everyday adversity and who doesn’t; who beats life-threatening disease and who succumbs; and who triumphs after economic hardship and who surrenders. The book became an instant New York Times bestseller, featured widely in print and on television, and has been published around the world.

In January 2009, Mr. Sherwood founded TheSurvivorsClub.org, an online resource center and support network for people surviving and thriving in the face of all kinds of adversity. In September 2010, The Survivors Club relaunched in partnership with Hearst Digital Media, significantly expanding its reach and offerings.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard College in 1986, Mr. Sherwood earned an AB degree in American government and history. From 1986 to 1989, as a Rhodes Scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, he earned master’s degrees in British imperial history and development economics.

Mr. Sherwood is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and serves on the boards of the National Constitution Center and the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues. He serves on the advisory board of the Center for Public Integrity, and is actively involved in City Year, the education-focused service organization.

_______________________

From: Anne Sweeney
Sent: Monday, March 24, 2014 12:56 PM
Subject: Exciting Announcement

Team:

I wanted to let you know some exciting news that Bob Iger just announced to his senior team, and that will be going out to the media shortly (full release attached).

Bob has tapped our very own Ben Sherwood, President, ABC News, to assume responsibility for the Disney/ABC Television Group in the New Year after I depart the Company. As has been discussed, we’ll be taking the remainder of this year to transition Ben into this new role, and during that time he’ll serve as Co-President of Disney/ABC and will also oversee ABC News until his successor is named.

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 past few 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.

Please join me in congratulating Ben on his new opportunity.

Warmly,

Anne

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