The Walt Disney Co. has named Kimberly Godwin president of ABC News.
Godwin, a longtime producer and executive at CBS News, will become the first Black woman to lead a broadcast news division. She succeeds James Goldston, who stepped down as president of ABC News earlier this year.
Godwin will start at ABC in early May and report to Peter Rice, chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content.
A top deputy to CBS News president Susan Zirinsky, Godwin was most recently executive vp news at CBS, overseeing all newsgathering worldwide for the venerable broadcast news division. She also had oversight of newsrooms at all the CBS-owned and operated TV stations.
Godwin also stepped in as ep of the CBS Evening News, helping to launch the revamped newscast under anchor Norah O’Donnell. She also served as executive director for development and diversity at CBS News, and as a senior broadcast producer for the Evening News. Before joining CBS News in 2007, she spent more than 20 years working in local TV newsrooms across the country, including leadership roles at WCBS New York, KNBC Los Angeles and KXAS in Dallas.
“Kim is an instinctive and admired executive whose unique experiences, strengths and strategic vision made her the ideal choice to lead the outstanding team at ABC News and build on their incredible success,” said Rice in a statement announcing the hire. “Throughout Kim’s career in global news organizations and local newsrooms, she has distinguished herself as a fierce advocate for excellence, collaboration, inclusion and the vital role of accurate and transparent news reporting.”
“I have immense respect and admiration for ABC News,” added Godwin in a statement. “As the most trusted brand in news, they are to be commended for the extraordinary work and dedication of the journalists, producers, executives and their teams across the organization. I am honored to take on this stewardship and excited for what we will achieve together.”
Godwin’s appointment continues an executive shake-up that has rolled across the television news business over the past few years. Zirinsky is said to be seeking an exit from her perch atop CBS News to shift into a production-focused role. And last year NBCUniversal named longtime Telemundo chief Cesar Conde chairman of its news group, which includes NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC. Conde subsequently named Rashida Jones president of MSNBC.
CNN, meanwhile, is expected to begin searching for a new leader in the coming months with president Jeff Zucker only committed to stay through the end of 2021.