ABC News President James Goldston Stepping Down as Top Executive

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
January 29, 2021US News
ABC News President James Goldston Stepping Down as Top Executive
President at ABC News, James Goldston speaks onstage during the International Women's Media Foundation's 2015 Courage in Journalism Awards, in in New York City, on Oct. 21, 2015. (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for IWMF)

James Goldston, the president of the broadcasting corporation ABC News, announced Thursday he will leave the station at the end of March.

“It’s a really tough decision. I’ve loved every day of my 17 years at ABC News, but in recent times I’ve always assumed that after this extraordinary election cycle, which we’ve covered at a full sprint for four years, it would be time for a change,” Goldston wrote in a memo to staff members.

“After a great deal of reflection over the last few months, I’m ready for a new adventure,” he continued. Goldston’s decision to leave the corporation is his own, according to the memo.

The news division president guided the network for seven years before he announced his departure. He said his last day would be March 31.

Goldston started his career with ABC News in 2004 as a senior producer of primetime specials and investigative reports. In 2014, he succeeded Ben Sherwood as president of the broadcasting corporation.

“The last seven years have been a transformative time for the news division,” he wrote in his memo. “What hasn’t changed is the dedication of everyone here to deliver straightforward news and an unparalleled excellence for telling stories that matter.”

His departure adds to the list of top jobs that need to be filled at major news organizations, including the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.

Norman Pearlstine, the executive editor of the Los Angeles Times stepped down last month, while Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron announced on Wednesday he will retire next month.

NTD Photo
Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron speaks during the inauguration of the Washington Post Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 28, 2016. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Goldston is also leaving the company at a time ABC’s flagship newscasts, “World News Tonight” and “Good Morning America,” are both leading its rivals in the ratings.

His decision to install David Muir as “World News Tonight” anchor paid dividends as the show now dominates the evening news ratings, often reaching 10 million viewers a night.

Peter Rice, chairman of general entertainment content at ABC parent Walt Disney Co., said he is “incredibly grateful to James for his leadership.”

“As a leader he is a calming force in the chaos of perpetual news, remaining both thoughtful and strategic while also maintaining his much appreciated wit,” Rice said in a memo to staff.

Rice said he’s appointing five ABC News executives to run the division as a search commences for a new leader: Derek Medina, Michael Corn, Almin Karamehmedovic, Wendy Fisher, and Marie Nelson.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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