Yesterday, Anne Sweeney — the Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks, President of Disney/ABC Television Group, Bob Iger’s Number Two, and the most powerful woman in Hollywood according to The Hollywood Reporter — did the unthinkable: she quit. After nearly two decades with the company, Sweeney apparently decided that she had spent enough time as a corporate suit (and that she had enough money). She’ll now explore her creative side as a TV director.
Since she’s been in the TV business for a long time, I’m guessing Sweeney knows that becoming a female TV director is not the easiest thing to accomplish. Women account for just 11% of all TV directors according to the latest research from the Center for Study of Women in Television and Film. I’ve heard from directors with experience in other mediums that it can take a long time to be allowed to even be allowed to shadow on a TV series. So it ain’t going to an easy walk.
Of course, Sweeney can parlay some connections in ways other women trying to break in cannot. And you have to give her props for making such a bold decision and for shocking the hell out of everyone in Hollywood. It’s a place where people don’t usually willingly leave power and status behind. Clearly this is something that she is willing to take a chance on, which means she’s trusting herself and her next act.
Best of luck.