Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, is leaving the company in January.
“The past 18 years at Disney have been the highlight of my executive career,” Sweeney said in a statement. “But as wonderful as the experience has been, there has always been a nagging voice in the back of my head pushing me to step out of the comfort zone of the executive ranks and more directly into the creative arena that enticed me to TV in the first place.”
Sweeney, 55, says she finally listened to that voice and will learn the art of television directing.
In her current role Sweeney oversaw a vast collection of the ABC portfolio, including the ABC Television Network, ABC Studios, and the ABC Owned Television Stations Group.
Sweeney’s departure will come three months before Bob Iger steps down as CEO of Disney where he will remain executive chairman. “I am so thankful to Bob Iger for his leadership, guidance and his friendship over the years,” Sweeney says.
Iger tells The Hollywood Reporter‘s Janice Min, who first reported the news, he was taken aback when Sweeney told him her plans. “She said, ‘I’m going to shock you,’ and then I started guessing. [I guessed] cooking in Italy.”
Read the news release, after the jump…