Anne Sweeney was the talk of Tinseltown on Tuesday when she announced she was leaving Disney after nearly 20 years to pursue her career as a television director.
The move was unexpected from Sweeney who gracefully and gradually morphed from Disney Channel chief to Co-Chair of Disney Media and President of the Disney–ABC Television Group.
She admits in a statement that she had been offered a long-term contract by Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, but opted against it in order to go after her dream job.
Sweeney says: “The past 18 years at Disney have been the highlight of my executive career. I’ve been a part of an amazing evolution in our business and our industry, and have achieved far more than I ever thought possible. But 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. I finally listened to that voice and thought, ‘if not now, when?’ I know my decision to step back from all of this to learn the art of directing may seem surprising, but to me it’s a long realized dream. I am so thankful to Bob Iger for his leadership, guidance and his friendship over the years, and am grateful not only for his offer to remain with the company for many years to come, but his understanding and support of my decision to make this change. I’m excited to spend the remainder of this year positioning the TV Group for even greater success.”