ABC News president Ben Sherwood will succeed the outgoing Anne Sweeney as co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, the Walt Disney Co. announced Monday. Sherwood will assume his new role in full Feb. 1, 2015. Effective immediately, Sherwood has been name co-president, Disney/ABC Television Group. He will continue to head ABC News until the transition is completed next February.
Sherwood has been president of ABC News since December 2010 and is largely credited with the rise of Good Morning America, which has consistently beaten out NBC's Today as the top-rated network morning show.
Sweeney announced March 11 that she would step down at the beginning of next year to pursue a career as a television director. The Disney veteran has overseen all of the companies television ventures worldwide.
In addition to the success of GMA, Sherwood has been praised by Disney executives for overseeing ABC News' recent agreements with Yahoo and Fusion.
“Ben is one of those unique executives who combine rich creative experience with great business acumen," said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. "He’s also focused, strategic, and competitive, as evidenced by the success of GMA, the Yahoo deal that delivered ABC News online dominance, and his vision behind our new cable and digital joint venture, Fusion. These reasons, and many others, make Ben the ideal candidate to oversee the future of the Disney/ABC Television Group.”
Sweeney also endorsed the appointment, saying, "I could not be more thrilled. This announcement simply highlights the fact that our talent and succession planning process works.”
Sherwood first joined ABC News as a producer for Primetime Live. He left to join NBC News in 1997, then returned in 2004 to become executive producer of Good Morning America. He is the author of two novels—The Man Who Ate the 747 and The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud.