David Westin, who has shepherded ABC News for the past 13 years, announced Sept. 6 in an e-mail to colleagues that he will step down as president of the news organization by the end of the year.
Pointing to the “very difficult transformation” stemming from “changes in our business and its economics,” Westin said in the e-mail that ABC News is now “better positioned for the future” than anytime since he joined the news organization in March 1997.
A story on Westin’s departure in The New York Times reported an unidentified ABC News staffer as saying the ABC News chief’s decision to leave is related to conflict between Westin and Walt Disney management over the news division’s financial standing.
A press statement released Sept. 6 from Anne Sweeny, president of the ABC/Disney TV group, credited Westin with “effectively guiding the group through some of the most seismic industry, and divisional, changes imaginable.” A replacement for Westin will be announced soon, Sweeny said.
In his e-mail, Westin said he timed his announcement “so that I can pursue those possibilities, something I couldn’t do in fairness to all of you until I’d told you of my plans to step down.”