Kim Godwin is stepping down as president of ABC News after three years as the network’s first Black woman as news chief

NEW YORK — Kim Godwin left ABC News after three tumultuous years as president, a move that emerged earlier this year when network parent Walt Disney Co. tapped one of its executives, Debra O’Connell, to run the news division.

Godwin, the first Black woman to lead a network news division, announced Sunday that she was retiring from the business. O’Connell said that looking forward, she will take over as director “for now.”

Godwin inherited a news division in which his two flagship programs, “World News Tonight” and “Good Morning America,” led rivals CBS and NBC in ratings. They’re still ahead, although “Good Morning America” ​​has experienced some blips due to the messy departures of anchors TJ Holmes and Amy Robach and Cecilia Vega’s move to CBS News.

Godwin was recruited as an outsider to CBS News and faced complaints about her management style that made it to the press.

In a note to staff, Godwin said she understands and appreciates the significance of being the first Black woman to hold such a prominent role in newscasts.

“It is both a privilege and a debt to those who have worked 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 10 local news stations in nine cities, Godwin announced she was leaving 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

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