Westin Resigns As Head Of ABC News

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David Westin is stepping down as president of ABC News.

Westin, who has been at the helm of ABC News for 13 years, announced his impending departure to ABC News staff in an e-mail Monday night (Sept. 6).

Anne Sweeney, president, Disney-ABC Television Group, in her own e-mail, called Westin a "tireless advocate" for the news division guiding it "through some of the most seismic industry, and divisional, changes imaginable."

Indeed, ABC News earlier this year completed a drastic 25% reduction in its staff, shedding more than 300 jobs.

ABC News has struggled to stay viable with broadcasts including Good Morning America and World News stuck as perennial also-rans behind NBC's Today and Nightly News with Brian Williams. The news division had barely managed to stay profitable, say sources, although the cuts are expected to get ABC News out of the red.

Westin will not step down until the end of the year. But his announcement, which blindsided many at the news division, comes on the heels of the abrupt exit of ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson, marking turnover in two integral positions at Disney-ABC.

Paul Lee, the former president of ABC Family, has replaced McPherson.

Sweeny noted in her e-mail to staff that she would be announcing a new president of ABC News in the "near future."