Patricia Fili-Krushel, the president of Walt Disney’s ABC TV Network, is preparing to announce her resignation this afternoon.
Fili-Krushel, the highest-ranking woman in broadcast television, is largely credited with overseeing the net’s jump from third to first place. She is said to be in discussions about a position elsewhere that would allow her to remain in New York. Fili-Krushel had previously expressed her concerns about moving from New York to Burbank, where Disney is establishing a new corporate headquarters.
Disney president Robert Iger is expected to assume Fili-Krushel’s duties until a replacement can be found.
Fili-Krushel is the latest in a string of high-profile departures for Disney. Most recently, Joe Roth resigned as chairman of the company’s film division. Last August, ABC Entertainment president Jamie Tarses resigned after a corporate reorganization stripped her of some of her authority over program development and she clashed with ABC entertainment execs Stuart Bloomberg and Lloyd Braun.
Sources say that Fili-Krushel may be motivated by the desire to avoid a similar situation. ABC has reportedly been considering naming a replacement for Steven Bornstein, former president of ABC Inc., who moved over to take charge of Disney’s Internet unit. While Fili-Krushel has reported directly to Iger, under the new leadership, Bornstein’s successor would be her new boss.
Fili-Krushel, who first worked for ABC in the 1970s, began her second stint with the company in 1993 and was appointed president in 1998 when the net was lagging behind CBS and NBC. Since then, ABC has soared to the top spot, mostly as a result of the success of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”
ABC was not immediately available for comment.