ABC News Executive Editor Stacia Deshishku Exits

Stacia Deshishku is the latest senior ABC News executive to leave the journalism operation in the wake of a recent restructuring by parent company Walt Disney Co.

Deshishku was the executive editor of ABC News, and part of a team of senior executives put together by former ABC News President Kim Godwin. Godwin left the news unit in May after the arrival of new supervising executive Debra OConnell, and a new plan that merges ABC News with the business of ABC’s owned-and-operated stations. There are many in the news business who expect OConnell, famous for her hands-on work ethic, to reorganize ABC News operations and appoint new senior operators, including an overall ABC News president.

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Deshishku’s last day is expected to be June 28. The Washington Post previously reported her departure.

Morale at ABC News ebbed during Godwin’s tenure, with staffers there frustrated by what they perceived to be a minimal presence by the executive in charge. Previous ABC News chiefs like Ben Sherwood and James Goldston were famously involved with many newsgathering decisions and often seen in the control room of ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the early hours of the day.

OConnell is believed to have begun talks with candidates for a commanding ABC News role. Among those who are believed to be in consideration are Tom Cibrowski, a former senior ABC News executive who now runs the San Francisco ABC station KGO, and Simone Swink, the executive producer of “GMA.”

Deshishku essentially served as the second-in-command of ABC News editorial efforts, working closely with senior producers at “Good Morning America,” “World News Tonight,” “The View,” “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” “20/20,” “Tamron Hall” and “Nightline,” as well as ABC News’ booking unit.

Prior to joining ABC,  the executive managed newsgathering around some of the biggest domestic and international stories while serving as CNN’s director of coverage. She was the manager of political coverage during the 2000 election and later led CNN’s White House unit. She also spent a number of years leading CNN’s breaking news coverage, which included Peabody Award-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

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