The new president of ABC News won’t start until May, but she already has a critical assignment: The top producer of ABC’s “Good Morning America” is leaving the show.

Michael Corn, an ABC News veteran who worked alongside Diane Sawyer at “World News Tonight” and who has managed “GMA” since 2014, has left the company abruptly. “Michael Corn no longer works for ABC News,” the Disney unit said in a prepared statement.  His exit comes just as ABC News staffers are preparing themselves for the arrival of Kim Godwin, a CBS News executive who on Wednesday was named as the next ABC News president.

Staffers were informed of his departure Thursday afternoon, according to a person familiar with the matter. Many were taken aback by the decision.

His leaving isn’t to be taken lightly. “GMA” is the nation’s most-watched morning program and generates millions of dollars in revenue for ABC. It also serves as a massive promotional platform for the Walt Disney Co., which relies on the show to get the word out about many of its movies and initiatives. “GMA” is locked in a scorched-earth battle with NBC News’ “Today,” While “GMA” attracts a bigger audience most weeks, “Today” commands a lead among the viewers that advertisers covet most, people between 25 and 54.

Corn helped move “GMA” into a new age, weaving popular host and sports announcer Michael Strahan into the mix alongside Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos. He has long envisioned “GMA” as a live spectacle, and transformed the show’s second hour by adding an in-studio audience to the proceedings. In 2018, he launched a “GMA” digital newsletter and a new site for the program’s content. A third, afternoon hour of the program was launched in 2018 under Strahan and Sara Haines. During the pandemic, it was transformed into a hard-news hour led by Amy Robach and TJ Holmes.

Godwin will likely have the task of deciding who should fill his role.