ABC News president Ben Sherwood has been tapped to replace outgoing Disney TV chieftain Anne Sweeney on February 1, 2015.
Sherwood will begin to transition into the position of co-president, Disney/ABC Television Group immediately, while also continuing to oversee ABC News until his successor is named.
Sweeney, who’s been with Disney for 18 years, announced earlier this month that she is departing the company in order to direct for television. She will remain co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group until January 2015.
Sherwood became president of ABC News in December 2010. During his tenure, the ABC morning show “Good Morning America” broke NBC’s 16-year ratings winning streak in the morning, while the ABC News division launched a partnership with Yahoo! to create a news and information network online.
Last year, ABC News also teamed with Univision to launch the news and lifestyle network Fusion.
Walt Disney Company chairman and CEO Robert Iger called Sherwood the “ideal candidate” for the job.
“Ben is one of those unique executives who combine rich creative experience with great business acumen,” Iger said. “He’s also focused, strategic, and competitive, as evidenced by the success of ‘GMA’ the Yahoo deal that delivered ABC News online dominance, and his vision behind our new cable and digital joint venture, Fusion. These reasons, and many others, make Ben the ideal candidate to oversee the future of the Disney/ABC Television Group.”
“It was Ben’s intense passion and incredible insight that made us confident he’d do great things as President of ABC News,” Sweeney added of her successor. “Over the years, he has moved from success-to-success, and helped create a more vibrant, collaborative and powerful News division that embraces innovation and risk-taking.”
Sherwood joined ABC News in 1989, moving on to join NBC’s “Nightly News With Tom Brokaw” in 1997 before returning to the ABC News in 2004, as an executive producer of “Good Morning America.”
Sherwood said he was “honored and humbled that Bob has entrusted me with this great responsibility and amazing opportunity.” He said he was also “deeply grateful” to Sweeney and said he was “looking forward to her counsel and wisdom during this transition period.”
He also tipped his hat to his team ABC News. “I will keep their commitment to excellence and their fierce competitiveness firmly in mind as I move forward to meet this exciting new challenge,” he said.