Longtime ABC News Chief David Westin Resigns

david westinDavid Westin.

ABC News president David Westin has decided to resign after almost 14 years.In an email to staff Monday night, first reported by The New York Times’ Bill Carter, Westin explained that his decision was a personal one, and that he felt it was time “to move on.” But an insider told Carter there had been a long-running conflict between Westin and network management.  

Carter writes:

The ABC News staff member informed of the decision said that Disney and ABC managers had pressed Mr. Westin for years to make the division more profitable, but had been unhappy with his efforts to accomplish that goal. ABC announced in February that it would reduce its staff by up to 400 employees, about 25 per cent of its work force.

But one senior ABC executive said the two issues were separate and financial pressures over news costs had not been a factor in Mr. Westin’s decision. Another senior ABC News executive said the division had been consistently profitable, but ABC had sought to increase its profit margin to 15 per cent, from 5 per cent.

TVNewser got a hold of the full memo. Here it is:

From: Westin, David L.
Sent: Mon Sep 06 20:46:37 2010
Subject: Transition

Dear Colleague,

A month ago I told Bob Iger and Anne Sweeney that the time has come for me to step down as President of ABC News. Leading you has been a great privilege and a solemn responsibility — a responsibility that I tried to fulfil for over thirteen years by doing what I believed was best for this important news organisation.

I will root for your continued success long after I am gone. I’ve always admired those few who know when it’s time to move on. This is the right time for me. Over the last nine months, we’ve put in place new anchors on all of our programs. At the same time, we went through a very difficult transformation made necessary by changes in our business and its economics.

I am confident ABC News is better positioned for the future than it has been at any time since I came here in March of 1997.

As rewarding as I’ve found my time here, there are some other things I want to do professionally — things that I cannot explore while fulfilling my responsibilities here.

I’m announcing my decision now 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. I have agreed to remain your leader through the end of the year to ensure that Anne has the time she needs to find the right successor and that there is an orderly transition.

So, I’m not going anywhere for the time being. I will need your support during this interim period to make sure that we continue to move forward. I have only the highest regard for the company of which we are a part, for its leadership, and — most important – for all of you.

I am grateful for your letting me be part of this great organisation for so long.


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