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Kim Godwin out as ABC News president after 3 years as first Black woman as network news chief

NEW YORK — Kim Godwin is out after three tumultuous years as ABC News president, a move presaged earlier this year when network parent Walt Disney Co. installed one of its executives, Debra O’Connell, to oversee the news division.

Godwin, the first Black woman to lead a network news division, said Sunday she was retiring from the business. O’Connell said she will be in charge “for the time being” as it looks ahead.

Godwin inherited a news division where its two most important programs, “World News Tonight” and “Good Morning America,” led rivals at CBS and NBC in the ratings. They’re still ahead, although “Good Morning America” has seen some slippage amid the messy departures of anchors T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach, and Cecilia Vega’s jump to CBS News.

Godwin was recruited as an outsider from CBS News and was beset by grumbling about her management style that made it into print.

In a note to staff members, Godwin said she understood and appreciated the significance of being the first Black woman to hold such a prominent broadcast news role.

“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 wrote.

After working at ABC, CBS, NBC and at 10 local news stations in nine cities, Godwin said she’s quitting the business.

“I leave with my head held high and wish the entire team continued success,” she wrote.


David Bauder writes about media for The Associated Press. Follow him at http://twitter.com/dbauder.

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