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Disney/ABC TV Group Digital Chief Albert Cheng to Exit

Albert Cheng is stepping down from his post as Disney/ABC Television Group’s top digital exec.

Cheng, exec VP and chief product officer of digital media for Disney/ABC TV Group, has been the architect of Disney/ABC’s digital initiatives for more than a decade. In a note to staffers, Cheng said he felt it was time to move on after achieving the goals of making Disney/ABC programming available on an array of digital platforms.

Noting ABC’s path-breaking decision to offer Web streaming of series back in 2006, Cheng observed: “We were streaming video before streaming became cool.” He also cited ABC’s partnership with Apple to include a video-streaming app in tandem with the launch of the iPad in 2010.

Cheng was tapped for the role of Disney/ABC TV’s digital media czar 10 years ago by then-Disney/ABC Group chief Anne Sweeney as it became clear that digital distribution would change the face of the television biz.

“The roadmap we outlined 10 years ago is complete,” Cheng wrote in his memo. “We have a solid foundation and have scaled our operations. I’ve met all the personal goals I set out for myself. As a company, we’ve achieved far more than I would have ever imagined.”

Cheng said he would remain in his post through next month to help Ben Sherwood, who succeeded Sweeney in February, through a transition period. Sherwood praised Cheng’s contributions to the company as “significant and far-reaching” in a statement, suggesting that the decision was Cheng’s and not a result of the regime change from Sweeney to Sherwood.

“Through the strategic and diligent work done by (Cheng) and the talented digital media team, Disney/ABC has evolved itself from a traditional television business into a vibrant, fully integrated, future-focused company with a digital-first mindset and a reputation for smart and bold risk-taking,” Sherwood said. “Albert’s drive to innovate, his boundless energy and thoughtful intelligence have made Disney/ABC a better place, and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Cheng joined Disney’s cable division in 2000 as VP of national accounts and distribution strategy.

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