04.15.2011 12:00 PM
Former ABC News Chief David Westin to Head Up News Licensing Group
NEW YORK: Former ABC News President David Westin was today named to lead
the News Licensing Group, an independent digital rights organization set to
launch this summer. It will initially go up with content and data from The
Associated Press and “more than 1,000 digital publications,” AP said.
Westin will be president and CEO of the Group, established by the AP board of directors
to protect and license original news content. The group will launch this summer.
More than two dozen organizations have pledged support, AP said.
“The Internet and mobile platforms offer a wonderful opportunity to ensure that
people have access to all the information they want, when they want it,” Westin
said. “News providers will need to work with digital distributors to make sure
that this new world works for everyone--for the news organizations, for the
distributors and ultimately for the public. This is the mission of the News
Licensing Group. It is an exciting moment for the news industry, and I'm
honored to be part of it.”
Srinandan Kasi is stepping down as vice president and general counsel of the AP
to serve as chief operating officer and executive vice president of the News
Licensing Group. It will be owned by the founding organizations. Those, and
initial participants, will be announced in the coming weeks. They will be
domestic and international in scope, AP says.
The News Licensing Group will build its business framework on work done at the
AP over the last eight years and on the technical capabilities of the AP News
Registry to measure digital use of text news content from its participating
news organizations. The enterprise will expand to include photos and video, as
well as information and content in multiple languages.
The naming of Westin completes a timeline begun last year, when the AP board
instructed AP to create an independent digital rights organization to serve as
a licensing service for the news industry. In February, the board formally
approved the new venture, which will be headquartered in New York.
Westin served as president of ABC News from 1997 until 2010. He oversaw all
editorial and business aspects of the news division, including all television
programs, ABC News Radio and
He first joined Capital Cities/ABC as vice presdient and general counsel in
1991 and was responsible for all legal affairs including labor and government
relations. He was later promoted to president of the ABC Television Network
where he was responsible for all divisions and program units including ABC
News, Sports and Entertainment, as well as sales, marketing, broadcast
operations, engineering and network communications. Before joining ABC, Westin
was a partner in Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, D.C.
He has taught as an adjunct law professor at Harvard and Georgetown, served on
the AP board of directors from 2001 to 2010. The firm of Bentley & Farrell
conducted the executive search on behalf of the News Licensing Group.
Kasi was named vice president, general counsel and secretary of AP in 2006. He
has been responsible for AP’s legal affairs globally, overseeing several
strategic initiatives with a specialization in ventures involving advanced
technology and digital business models. Kasi joined AP in 2004 as vice
president of Global Business and deputy general counsel. He was previously a
scientist with IBM. Kasi holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Houston and a J.D. from Columbia University.