ABC News Undergoes Round Of Layoffs And Realignment Of Leadership Team

ABC News underwent a round of staff reductions on Thursday, with about 50 positions impacted as part of parent Walt Disney Co.’s companywide cuts.

ABC News President Kim Godwin also announced a realignment of her leadership team, with Katie den Daas serving as vice president of newsgathering, overseeing the domestic and international teams, as well as NewsOne; Derek Medina, executive vice president, will oversee an expanded business and operations team; and Stacia Deshishku, executive editor and senior vice president of news, who will oversee the investigative and enterprise reporting units, as well as linear shows and special events.

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According to a network source, among the employees who were impacted by the layoffs were Wendy Fisher, senior vice president, newsgathering; Galen Gordon, senior VP of talent strategy and development; Mary Noonan, vice president of talent strategy and development; Alison Rudnick, vice president of corporate communications, Chris Vlasto, senior executive producer and head of the investigative unit; Heather Riley, executive editorial producer; and David Herndon, executive director and Los Angeles bureau chief.

“While this is a difficult time for all of us – particularly those directly affected by these tough decisions – it’s important to remember that together, we are resilient, and will emerge from this period of transition stronger than before,” Godwin wrote in a note to staff.

Disney started the process of eliminating about 7,000 jobs this week, with plans to phase the staff reductions over the next several weeks. Among the employees laid off earlier this week was Ike Perlmutter, the chairman of Marvel Entertainment.

Godwin’s full note to staff is below:


Throughout the company, teams are being impacted by the downsizing that was announced several weeks ago, including our own ABC News family. While these actions are never easy, they are a necessary step to ensure we’re on solid footing for the years ahead as we chart a sustainable, growth-oriented path forward for the entire organization.

While this is a difficult time for all of us – particularly those directly affected by these tough decisions – it’s important to remember that together, we are resilient, and will emerge from this period of transition stronger than before.

To that end, I’d like to share some key changes to our structure:

  • Katie den Daas, who has been leading our London bureau, will now be vice president of Newsgathering, overseeing the domestic and international teams, including bureaus worldwide, the desks, and NewsOne. Reporting into Katie will be Michael Kreisel, who will manage the domestic bureau chiefs (except for the DC bureau) and NewsOne, which will continue to be headed by Al Prieto; Jonathan Greenberger, who will lead the DC bureau and political coverage; and Kirit Radia, who will oversee the London bureau, all other international bureaus and teams worldwide. In the coming weeks, Katie will transition from London to New York, and we will name a new London bureau chief soon.
  • Effective immediately, our Business and Operations team will expand to include Talent Strategy, Production Operations, Business Operations and Business Affairs. All will report to Derek Medina, EVP, ABC News.
  • Our investigative and enterprise reporting units, which include Medical, Business, and Climate, will join the linear shows and Special Events, reporting to Stacia Deshishku, executive editor and SVP of News. Additionally, ABC’s extensive bookings resources will now roll up to Stacia.

Like you, I have come to trust and rely on the expertise and dedication of Katie, Derek, and Stacia, and I am grateful to count them among my senior leaders. All other reporting lines will remain the same.

In the coming days and weeks, we will share additional information about these teams and our plans.

Most importantly, I would like to acknowledge the work and legacy of our departing staff members. Not only are they our colleagues, they’re also our friends who will always be a part of the proud history of this esteemed organization. On behalf of the entire ABC News family, thank you for your service and professionalism.

We are truly privileged to work alongside so many smart, talented, and creative people. This is a team like no other – and it’s because of you that ABC News is #1. 


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