Kim Godwin Resigns As ABC News President, Retiring From News Industry

Kim Godwin has stepped down from her position as the president of ABC News after signing a three-year contract extension.

After a career spanning ABC, CBS, NBC, and a decade at local news stations across nine cities, Godwin announced her departure from the industry, saying, “I leave with my head held high and wish the entire team continued success.” Godwin, who made history as the first Black woman to lead a network news division, announced her retirement from the industry on Sunday. According to The Associated Press, when she took the helm, ABC News‘ flagship programs, “World News Tonight” and “Good Morning America,” were leading the ratings race against competitors CBS and NBC. However, the outside recruit from CBS News faced criticism over her management approach, with rumblings of discontent surfacing publicly.

“It’s both a privilege and a debt to those who chipped away at the ceiling before me to lead a team whose brand is synonymous with trust, integrity and a dogged determination to be the best in the business,” Godwin wrote to staff members.

Godwin’s resignation follows the appointment of Disney executive Debra O’Connell, who BLACK ENTERPRISE previously stated was promoted to supervise the news division earlier this year, placing Godwin under her lead. The move hinted at Godwin’s impending removal at the time and prompted concerns from Black ABC News staffers who accused Disney CEO Bob Iger of treating Godwin unfairly. Critics were accused of celebrating the former ABC president’s demotion.

The New York Times reported that supporters like the National Association of Black Journalists released a statement defending Godwin. “N.A.B.J. will not be silent about what we believe is unfair treatment, nor will we stand idly by and watch the violation of basic journalism principles used to diminish such a historic moment for Black women in news leadership,” the organization said.

Good Morning America” has struggled recently, losing to NBC‘s “Today” in the key adult under 54 demographic for several months. Notably, “CBS Mornings,” typically trailing, has even outperformed “G.M.A.” in this demographic on several occasions since December. During Godwin’s tenure, senior ABC News executives were removed, sparking concerns about her leadership. Godwin’s departure follows the introduction of two new bosses and a number of other terminations of other high-ranking employees, which included Peter Rice, who hired her, and Bob Chapek, the former Disney chief executive who fired Rice.

O’Connell confirmed she will remain in charge “for the time being,” as the division moves forward.

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