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Kim Godwin is leaving as president of ABC News after three years as the first Black woman to head network news

NEW YORK (AP) — Kim Godwin has been fired after three tumultuous years as president of ABC News, a move that was foretold earlier this year when network parent Walt Disney Co. appointed one of its executives, Debra O’Connell, to oversee the news department.

Godwin, the first Black woman to lead a network news department, said Sunday she was retiring from the company. O’Connell said she will be in charge “for now,” as it appears.

Godwin inherited a news division where its two flagship programs, “World News Tonight” and “Good Morning America,” led rivals at CBS and NBC in the ratings. They’re still leading the way, though “Good Morning America” ​​has seen some derailments amid the messy departures of hosts TJ Holmes and Amy Robach, and Cecilia Vega’s jump to CBS News.

Recruited as an outsider to CBS News, Godwin was plagued by grumblings about her management style that appeared in print.

In a letter to staff members, Godwin said she understood and appreciated the significance of being the first Black woman to play such a prominent role in news.

“It is both a privilege and a debt to those who raised the ceiling before me to lead a team whose brand is synonymous with trust, integrity and a dogged determination to be the best in the business,” she wrote.

After stints at ABC, CBS, NBC and 10 local news stations in nine cities, Godwin says she is quitting the company.

“I leave with my head held high and wish the entire team the best of luck,” she wrote.


David Bauder writes about media for The Associated Press. Follow him up

David Bauder, The Associated Press