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Dave Davis Joins ABC News as Westin’s #2

First on TVNewser: Current WABC general manager Dave Davis joins ABC News as executive vice president of the news division, reporting to News president David Westin. Davis becomes the “single, senior executive to oversee all of our television broadcasts, replacing the structure in which the programs reported to several different people.”

So what does it mean for other ABC News execs? According to Westin’s note, here’s how it will break down:

Senior VP Amy Entelis “will be reporting to Dave to make sure that we continue to build the best group of anchors, correspondents, and producers in the business.”

Paul Slavin will assume a new position as Senior VP for Digital at ABC News.” Slavin reports to Westin.

Phyllis McGrady becomes “Senior VP for creative development.” McGrady will also report to Westin.

Paul Mason becomes Senior VP for Politics, “reporting to Dave Davis.”

Bob Murphy assumes a “new position as Vice President of Administration reporting to Dave Davis.”

Click continued to read Westin’s note…

Over the summer I wrote you about an overall review of ABC News that we’re undertaking. Every one of us sees that the world around us is changing, and we have to make sure that we’re making the right changes so that ABC News is even stronger for the next generation. I also said that we are guided by three paramount principles: strengthening our reporting; improving our broadcasts; and re-designing the division to reflect the importance of our digital future.
Today, I’m announcing a series of changes in the senior management of the division that will make sure that we’re pursuing these goals aggressively and with clarity. ABC News is in very good shape on every front today; I believe that these changes will make us even better.
First, I am appointing a single, senior executive to oversee all of our television broadcasts, replacing the structure in which the programs reported to several different people. We’ve made good progress over the last several years in breaking down many of the barriers that had built up among our programs, but we can do better. Having the programs report to a single executive will help us.
I’m very happy to announce that Dave Davis, until now President and General Manager of WABC-TV, has agreed to join us as the new Executive Vice President responsible for our programs and related operations. Reporting to me, Dave will oversee Good Morning America, World News, 20/20, Primetime, Nightline, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, and our overnight newscasts. Because they are so integrally related to our broadcasts, special events, our directors, and advertising and promotion will also report directly to Dave.
Many of us know Dave well. We know how successful he’s been and what a pleasure he is to work with. Since I first approached Dave several months ago about joining us, we’ve spent many hours together. He started on the news side of local television and loves what we do. He understands that it is first and foremost the reporting that has made ABC News great. At the same time, I wouldn’t have asked Dave to join us if I didn’t expect him to make some changes. His fresh perspective and extensive experience will help make our broadcasts stronger than they’ve ever been.

One of the most important things that we do for all of our broadcasts is to find and develop talented people in front of and behind the camera. Senior Vice President Amy Entelis and her team have done an outstanding job, and as a result, we have by far the best team in television news today. Under the new structure, Amy will be reporting to Dave to make sure that we continue to build the best group of anchors, correspondents, and producers in the business.
Paul Slavin will assume a new position as Senior Vice President for Digital at ABC News. He will report to me and have dotted line responsibility to Albert Cheng, Executive Vice President of Digital Media for the Disney/ABC Television Group. All of our digital content,, ABC News Now, mobile, and broadband, will report to Paul. In addition, Paul will be responsible for leading and approving all business development, marketing, and operations for ABC News in the digital area. Paul will have specific, dedicated individuals within Albert’s digital media organization to support him in each of those areas.

We have talked often about how important digital is to our future. Paul has demonstrated his ability to get things done, both in the digital area and in ABC News overall. Now, for the first time, we will have a senior executive of Paul’s proven ability, focused exclusively on our digital future, which will help ensure that we pursue our goal of making ABC News as prominent and successful in digital as it is in broadcast.
Phyllis McGrady will assume a new position as Senior Vice President for Creative Development, reporting to me. All of us know that Phyllis is one of the most creative news executives there is. She has overseen the revival of Good Morning America, the re-thinking of our newsmagazines (with David Sloan), and she’s been the creative force behind some of our most innovative and important primetime documentaries and series. From now on, all of our programs and all of our digital outlets will have access to Phyllis and her team’s creative horsepower.
Paul Mason will become Senior Vice President for Politics, reporting to Dave Davis and overseeing all aspects of our coverage of the 2008 election. The upcoming election is one of the biggest and most important stories that most of us will cover in our careers. Paul has supervised our political coverage thus far, and we need an executive of Paul’s stature devoted to making sure that we’re as good as we can be on this important story.

Bob Murphy will assume a new position as Vice President of Administration reporting to Dave Davis. Bob has been a vital member of ABC News for some 30 years. Recently, he has played key roles in the re-launch of Nightline, in helping Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt and their families with the aftermath of the IED attack on them, and in organizing our political coverage. Bob has forgotten more about this organization than most of us will ever know. He will be very valuable in helping Dave learn the ropes in his new position.

To summarize, with this reorganization, we will have our programs and their executive producers report to a single executive, Dave Davis, rather than to three. We will have a single executive, Paul Slavin, working full time on our digital future. Dave and Paul will report to me, as will the parts of our organization that support both the programs and our digital outlets (including the Desk, our units, radio, and NewsOne).

I know this is a lot to digest. I’m sure that there will be issues yet to be resolved. We’ll take those issues up as they arise. But overall, this new senior management structure reflects our goals and priorities. I am confident that they will ensure our continued success and position us to build on that success.

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