May 5, 2024 - Business

ABC News president Kim Godwin steps down

 President of ABC News, Kim Godwin attends the 2022 ABC Disney Upfront at Basketball City - Pier 36 - South Street on May 17, 2022 in New York City.

Outgoing ABC News president Kim Godwin. Photo: Arturo Holmes/WireImage via Getty Images

Embattled ABC News President Kim Godwin has stepped down, according to notes internally obtained by Axios on Sunday.

Why it matters: Godwin, who joined ABC News from CBS in 2021, was the first Black woman to lead a major broadcast news division.

  • In a note sent to staffers Sunday announcing her resignation, she said, "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," she added.

Be smart: For months, reports have described an increasingly hostile environment for Godwin within ABC News, as staffers began to lose confidence in her leadership.

  • Sources told Axios that the main sentiment felt by staff was that Godwin was more focused on promoting herself as a leader rather than investing time with ABC News' staff and show teams.
  • When longtime Disney executive Debra OConnell was named president of a newly created division overseeing ABC News and its local broadcast stations in February, it was largely seen as a demotion for Godwin.
  • Since her promotion, OConnell has acted as a steady voice for ABC News staffers, who told Axios they felt unclear about the network's direction.

The big picture: Despite the drama around Godwin, ABC News' top franchises, Good Morning America and World News Tonight continue to top competitors in overall viewership.

  • Staffers say that while the leadership drama was distracting, it didn't impact the news operations' productivity.
  • The Wall Street Journal first reported on Godwin stepping down.

What's next: In a note to staff obtained by Axios, OConnell said she will oversee ABC News for the time being and is "looking forward to working with the leadership team as we forge a new path forward together."

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