After decision to shed 400 staff, ABC News chief quits

Don't miss the last para.

Chief of ABC News Is Resigning

By Bill Carter/NYT

David Westin, the longtime president of ABC News,
has decided to resign his position on Tuesday.
In an e-mail that Mr. Westin sent to the staff on Monday night, he cast the decision in personal terms, saying that after almost 14 years, he had decided it was time "to move on." He also pledged to stay in the position until the end of the year to give ABC time to find a replacement.
One staff member informed before the release of the e-mail said that the decision was also related to a long-running conflict between Mr. Westin and the management of the network, including ABC's parent company, Walt Disney, over the financial standing of the news division.Mr. Westin, 58, did not respond to a request for comment.

The ABC News staff member informed of the decision said that Disney and ABC managers had pressed Mr. Westin for years to make the division more profitable, but had been unhappy with his efforts to accomplish that goal. ABC announced in February that it would reduce its staff by up to 400 employees, about 25 percent of its work force.
But one senior ABC executive said the two issues were separate and financial pressures over news costs had not been a factor in Mr. Westin's decision. Another senior ABC News executive said the division had been consistently profitable, but ABC had sought to increase its profit margin to 15 percent, from 5 percent. The executives spoke on the condition of anonymity so that Mr. Westin's and Ms. Sweeney's statements would be the only official comment on Monday night.
ABC News programs typically rank second to NBC News programs among the most important ones, but ABC lags far behind in terms of earnings.
Unlike NBC News, which owns the cable news channel MSNBC, ABC News does not own a cable channel that could provide profit to support the rising costs of operating a television news division.

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