Kim Godwin Out as ABC News President

This comes just three months after Debra OConnell was appointed to oversee the network’s news operations and evaluate Godwin’s performance

Kim Godwin (ABC News President)
Getty Images

ABC News President Kim Godwin is departing the network, just three months after Debra OConnell was appointed to oversee ABC News operations and evaluate Goodwin’s performance. 

Godwin stepped down on Sunday night, announcing her departure in an email to staffers which read, “I have decided to retire from broadcast journalism.” 

“Anyone who’s passionate about what we do knows there’s no other business like it, so this was not an easy or quick decision,” Godwin continued. “But after considerable reflection, I’m certain it’s the right one for me as I look to the future and prioritize what’s most important for me and my family.”

“I leave with my head held high and wish the entire team continued success,” Godwin added in her memo to staff.

No successor has been named as Godwin’s replacement at this time. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news on Sunday.

Godwin was named ABC News president in 2021, becoming the first Black woman to lead a broadcast network’s news division. Prior to ABC, Godwin served as executive vice president of CBS News. 

OConnell, who was promoted to president of Disney Entertainment’s News Group and Networks in February, has spent the last three months evaluating the network’s operations and soliciting input from staffers about the current leadership structure in place.

When OConnell was appointed to the new position it was immediately clear who was in charge, with Godwin, who had recently renewed her contract with the network, and ABC Owned Television Stations president Chad Matthews reporting directly to OConnell. 

In a memo to staff, when OConnell was first appointed, Godwin wrote that the consolidation under her would allow for ABC News to “better amplify the incredible work we all produce daily.”

However, in her brief tenure thus far, OConnell was reportedly extremely disappointed in Godwin’s leadership. 

Godwin’s style at ABC News has been relatively hands-off, which OConnell points to as a reason for problems boiling over internally, according to CNN’s Oliver Darcy. Additionally, Darcy reports that OConnell is frustrated that Godwin has not hired a replacement for the network’s head of talent, Galen Gordon, a year after he was dismissed. 

Then, on Tuesday, ABC News meteorologist Rob Marciano exited the network abruptly after spending a decade as a regular contributor to weekend and morning programming. While ABC News declined to comment on the nature of the departure, Marciano had previously been banned from “Good Morning America” after making a colleague uncomfortable on set, according to Page Six. 

The Daily Beast reported that a “heated screaming match” between Marciano and a “Good Morning America” producer was the “last straw” for the meteorologist, leading to his termination. 

The network’s staffers are also concerned that leadership has not laid out a clear plan for the future of ABC News, as linear TV continues to suffer in the streaming era. 

“Akin to the final days of Chris Licht’s tenure at CNN last summer, it is evident that Godwin has lost the room, her stewardship no longer sustainable,” Darcy wrote on Thursday, referencing his own network’s internal power struggle in 2022, which ended in a similar and inevitable ouster.

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