Former ABC News President David Westin is out as CEO of NewsRight, an organization that licenses content from newspapers to other websites. The decision was made at a board meeting late Friday afternoon.
Srinadan Kasi, NewsRight COO, will take over as interim CEO while Westin shifts into an advisory role. Kasi will take over Aug. 1.
When Westin took the job in April 2011, he told the company’s board, which includes media heavyweights like Washington Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth, that he only wanted to stay for a year.
“Getting the innovative venture of NewsRight off to a strong start has been a unique opportunity for which I’m grateful,” Westin said in a statement. “From the very beginning Sri has understood the need for sensible licensing of original digital news content and data about the use of that content. I could not be more pleased to hand the reins over to him and look forward to continuing to work with Sri, the NewsRight Board, and staff to build on what we’ve created.”
Westin join the organization when it was called the News Licensing Group and operated under the auspices of the Associated Press. Though it is still located in the AP building in New York City, it relaunched in January with 29 investors, including the New York Times Company, the Washington Post Company and the AP.
Westin was the president of ABC News for more than a decade, overseeing shows like “World News with Diane Sawyer,” “Good Morning America” and “20/20.”
He just released “Exit Interview,” a book about his experiences running ABC’s news division.
NewsRight board members include Weymouth and Bob Nutting, CEO of Ogden Newspapers.
The goal of the organization is to prevent copyright violation, making deals to ensure the lawful distribution of newspaper content. It is also an opportunity to create a new revenue stream for newspapers, a jolt in the arm for a struggling industry.
They are not alone in this endeavor. NewsCred licenses, curates and syndicates news articles from more than 750 sources.
NewsRight secured its first major deal in March with Moreover.
“Under David’s leadership, NewsRight has secured investment from throughout the industry, branded and introduced NewsRight, developed a broad catalog of hundreds of news outlets and has begun to serve the subscription aggregation market,” Nutting said in a statement. “Now, as NewsRight is well positioned as a reliable partner for procuring quality digital news content and analytics data, it’s the right time to transition to new leadership.”
A former lawyer, Westin graduated from Michigan law school. He plans to travel and focus on his book, but he will also continue to advise the company after leaving his post.