Page 3 Profile: Anne Sweeney, Disney executive


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Roll credits for the most powerful woman in TV

The president of the Disney-ABC Television Group has announced that she will be leaving the entertainment company after 18 years of service. She’ll leave her job overseeing the company’s $10bn-a-year TV networks by the end of 2014.

Jumping before she was pushed?

Far from it. Sweeney, 55, is credited with growing the Disney Channel business into a worldwide powerhouse in children’s programming. Last year she helped generate $11.9m in revenue and $2.6bn in profit, making her the most powerful woman in Hollywood for the fifth consecutive year, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She intends to pursue a career as a TV director.

Why would she want to do that?

Sweeney, who is married with two adult children, intended to become an actress before joining Disney in 1996, and has been taking painting classes for several years. She has conceded that while her career change may come as a surprise to some (Disney’s chief executive, Bob Iger, said: “I was somewhat incredulous. I didn’t see that coming”), she has wanted to move in a more creative direction for many years.

So it’s a case of Anne Sweeney: The Sequel?

Something like that. “When you sit behind these big desks you don’t truly get to touch the creative process, and that is an opportunity I wanted to give myself,” Sweeney said. “If not now, when?” she added.