Jeffrey Schneider, ABC News SVP and chief spokesman, is leaving the network to start his own PR firm, TVNewser has learned.
Schneider’s deputy Julie Townsend will lead ABC News communications strategy and the PR team. Schneider calls his 14 years at ABC News “an incredible honor and privilege.”
I’m very grateful for the thrilling experiences I’ve had at the news division and embark on this new path with tremendous affection and respect for all the people of ABC News,” Schneider says.
His new firm, Schneider Global Strategy, will specialize in media relations and crisis management and counts ABC News and Disney/ABC TV as his first clients.
Schneider, who was suspended this summer following an internal incident, will remain at ABC News through the midterm elections. “Jeffrey has been our champion in great and tough times,” writes ABC News president James Goldston in a note to staff. “He’s done it with good humor, nearly superhuman drive and a deep love for this great institution.”
Townsend re-joined ABC News as VP in 2011. In her first stint at ABC News, beginning in 2001, she was PR Coordinator for “Nightline” and “This Week” in Washington, DC. “Julie is a persuasive storyteller and a passionate champion for ABC News,” Goldston writes. “She believes deeply in our team and in the importance of the work we do.