Disney executive Anne Sweeney stepping down

By Marie Blake,

Disney/ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney has decided to step down next January to transition to directing.

TheWrap reports that Sweeney has decided to exit the company next January, and wants to pursue other ventures in television directing.

Sweeney, who has worked with Disney for 18 years, believes that this is a good time to leave, and credits her time at Disney as the highlight of her career.

"As wonderful as the experience has been, there has always been a nagging voice in the back of my head pushing me to step out of the comfort zone of the executive ranks and more directly into the creative arena that enticed me to TV in the first place," Sweeney said in a statement.

Sweeney joined the networks of Disney, ABC, and ABC Family in 1996, after spending 12 years with Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite.

"Since joining Disney, Anne has been a very successful executive in our senior ranks," CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. "We're thrilled she'll be with us through the end of the year, and look forward to having her direct one of our shows in the future."

The Los Angeles Times reports that Sweeney, credited to being one of the top female executives in Hollywood, helped to build the Disney television enterprise, and reestablished the ABC family network.

Sweeney is also currently in charge of ABC, ABC Family, Disney Junior, Disney Channel and ABC News. In the past she has also worked with FX, and served as a board member on A&E Television Networks, the American Film Institute, the Paley Center for Media, and the Special Olympics.

Image courtesy of ABC

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