ABC News president Kim Godwin is out at the network

ABC News President Kim Godwin is no longer with the network.

Debra O’Connell and Godwin, head of news group and networks at Disney Entertainment, shared the news in an internal memo sent to employees Sunday night.

After reflecting on his tenure, Godwin told the staff, “I have decided to retire from broadcast journalism.”

“Anyone interested in what we do knows there’s no other business like it, so it wasn’t an easy or quick decision,” Godwin continued. “But after considerable reflection, I am convinced that this is the right thing for me as I look to the future and prioritize what is most important to me and my family.”

O’Connell said in his memo that he will lead ABC News in the interim.

“For now, I will oversee ABC News, and I look forward to working with the leadership team as we forge a new path forward together,” O’Connell wrote. “Thank you for your patience and understanding during this transition.”

Godwin joined ABC News in 2021 after a long stint as an executive and producer at CBS News.

However, in February of this year, Disney veteran O’Connell was tasked with merging the businesses of ABC News and ABC TV stations. Godwin signed a new contract to remain at ABC News at the time, although the restructuring limited his authority somewhat.

His tenure was met with some public challenges, most notably suspension and eventual impeachment GMA3 Last year co-hosted by Amy Robach and TJ Holmes. He was the target of grumbling from staffers, though few national newsroom chiefs have gotten away with it in recent years.

On Saturday, the National Association of Black Journalists issued a statement citing some of the reports, saying, “There appears to be an intent to cite anonymous sources as detractors of Godwin and use derogatory or stereotypical terms to describe him. Meanwhile, these reports completely ignore evidence and facts that speak to significant support within Godwin’s organization.

NABJ added that it plans to meet with ABC and Disney executives to discuss the matter.

Read OConnell and Godwin’s notes below.

Debra O’Connell’s note to her team:

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team,

Just wanted to share Kim’s note below. Dana and I want to express our deepest gratitude to Kim for her service as president of ABC News. Kim has led this team many times in our world and has done so with respect for the brand and the industry – and we thank her for that and more.

Our reputation and credibility are hard-earned, and we want to recognize the extraordinary work you deliver every day. As the No. 1 news network for 12 consecutive seasons and counting, ABC News is the best in the business. From morning to noon, evening and beyond, this team is ready 24/7 to serve our nation with the news, people and events that shape our world.

For now, I will oversee ABC News and look forward to working with the leadership team as we forge a new path forward together. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this transition. Since taking on this role in February, my goal has been — and will continue to be — to provide this team with the tools necessary to build on our success and carry ABC News’ proud heritage into a future filled with opportunity and innovation.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or your senior leaders.

Thanks,

Debra

Note from Kim Godwin for ABC News:

Good evening ABC News,

Forty years ago, I started my career right out of college as an enthusiastic and enthusiastic executive producer at WTXL in Tallahassee, responsible for the 6 and 11 o’clock news. The staff was so small that on busy news days, I also had to go out and report. When I began charting a path through an industry where there were very few women — and even fewer women — in leadership roles, I had no idea what extraordinary opportunities lay before me. So, when I took over as president of ABC News three years ago, I understood and appreciated the profound significance of being the first black woman to lead a national broadcast news network. It is a privilege and a credit to those who have stepped away from the ceiling before me to lead a team synonymous with trust, integrity and a firm commitment to excellence in business.

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Now, four decades and countless miles later, having worked for three broadcast news networks and 10 local stations in nine cities, I’ve come full circle from that small but mighty ABC affiliate in Florida’s panhandle. I have decided to retire from broadcast journalism. After matriculating through the J-School at my beloved Florida A&M University, I have been fortunate and blessed to work all the jobs in this industry including anchor, investigative reporter, news director, field producer, network/special events executive producer. And many more before moving on to management positions. Anyone who’s interested in what we do knows there’s no other business like it, so it wasn’t an easy or quick decision. But after considerable thought, as I look to the future and prioritize what is most important to me and my family, I am convinced that it is right for me.

ABC News was No. 1 when I joined the team, and I’m proud to say we’re still No. 1 — it’s Edward R. Stopped in recent months with some of the highest honors our industry can offer from Muro. Award for Overall Excellence in Television, Alfred I. for our amazing “Power of Water” series. DuPont-Columbia Award for our first Primetime Emmy Award nominations for “Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields” and “Aftershock.” And last week, our Uvalde documentary “Print It Black” won Best Documentary at the Dallas International Film Festival. I’m especially proud of our unprecedented Uvalde 365 project, an unparalleled year-long commitment to documenting a community’s emotional journey after a mass shooting.

In 2022, we were all overjoyed to receive 41 Emmy nominations, the most in 53 years. We have a great morning news show, a daytime network show, an evening newscast and a Friday news magazine. We are consistently #1 in all major live TV events, including, most recently, “Eclipse Across America” in partnership with Nat Geo. And our programs are consistently in the top 10 on Hulu.

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Beyond awards and ratings, our success is best measured in the people of ABC News. It’s an exceptional team doing exceptional work – together. You are best in class in every way, and it’s wonderful to see you tackle assignment after assignment, providing comprehensive coverage to our viewers around the world at a time when honest reporting is vital to the future of our country.

We pride ourselves on being inclusive of all communities and meeting our audience where they need us, and no initiative exemplifies this better than ABC News Live. When I started, the little streaming train was all I could do; Now, thanks to your hard work and dedication, it is a big train that can be completed every day. Last season, we launched “IMPACT X Nightline,” a weekly news magazine on Hulu, whose episodes are among the most-watched content on the platform.

We are particularly proud of the success of ABC News Studios, which has now become a premiere fiction and documentary studio, producing more than 120 hours of award-winning content annually. We also established the first weather unit on a broadcast news network. So many innovations and initiatives in the blink of an eye. Together, we’re committed to a culture shift where people feel seen and heard when they do their best work. For these reasons and more, I leave ABC News and this profession with a sense of sincere pride, accomplishment and gratitude. My heart is full.

I want to thank Dana Walton and Debra O’Connell for always making sure we have the resources and support to do our jobs. Finally, thank you ABC News for the love, support and inspiration. Over the years, you have sent hundreds of emails, texts and phone calls that have lifted my heart. In this next election year, and as we look to the months ahead, the importance of what we are doing cannot be overstated. Remember, there is joy in journalism.

I leave with my head held high and wish the entire team continued success.

#oneabcnews

In faith and support,
Kim

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