Disney appoints alumnus president

Lizzy Thomas

ABC News President Ben Sherwood ’81 will be the next president of Disney/ABC Television Group and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, the company announced last month.

Sherwood will replace Ann Sweeney, whose decision to step down effective next January was met with widespread surprise when reported last month.

Sweeney had picked Sherwood for the ABC News job back in 2010.

The promotion, which comes a little more than three years after Sherwood’s selection for the ABC News president job, positions Sherwood as the top television executive at Disney.

Though Disney marked Sherwood’s effective date of appointment for Feb. 1, 2015, it announced that Sherwood would be involved in all ABC decisions in the role of co-president until official appointment.

In the meantime, Sherwood will continue to oversee ABC News, which saw success under his leadership, particularly in the morning news sector as its “Good Morning America” overtook NBC’s “Today” for the first time in 16 years back in 2012.

“Ben is one of those unique executives who combines rich creative experience with great business acumen,” Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Robert Iger said during his announcement of Sherwood’s appointment. “He’s also focused, strategic and competitive, as evidenced by the success of GMA, the Yahoo deal that delivered ABC News online dominance and his vision behind our new cable and digital joint venture, Fusion. These reasons, and many others, make Ben the ideal candidate to oversee the future of the Disney/ABC Television Group.”

Sherwood, who attended Harvard University and was a Rhodes scholar following his time at Harvard School for Boys, was previously executive producer of “Good Morning America”, and Sherwood managed the program’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 presidential election.

In the time immediately prior to his presidency at ABC News, Sherwood was focused on book-writing, having authored three novels and one nonfiction work, a 2009 New York Times bestseller, “The Survivors Club.”

Sherwood’s third book, “The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud,” was adapted into a 2010 movie starring Zac Efron.