Disney TV Chief Anne Sweeney, One Of Hollywood's Most Powerful Women, Is Stepping Down

One of the most powerful women in Hollywood is giving it up for TV. Anne Sweeney, the co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television, will step down before the end of the year to explore the creative side of the business, according to the Hollywood Reporter. While Sweeney has been remarkably successful as an executive, she says that the creative process is her “underlying passion,” and will try her hand at directing TV after leaving Disney/ABC.

“I’m at a really beautiful point in my life,” Sweeney said in an interview. “My kids are grown and out of the house. My husband is supportive; he knows I’ve always had a passion for the creative process. He sees me reading scripts, looking at rough cuts, he knows that is my underlying passion. I’ve often said [to others], “Do the things that scare you the most.' I’ve always believed that you learn your entire life and you should never pigeonhole yourself. You should also be open to your passion and mine is the creative process and to be a learner again.”

Sweeney has been with Disney for a 18 years. She’s been remarkably effective: In 2013 alone, the divisions of the company under her control generated $2.6 billion in profit. That made her the most profitable woman in Hollywood, a distinction she’s earned the past five years straight.

When asked if her decision was the result of a mid-life crisis, 56-year-old Sweeney replied that: "If I were living to be 112, maybe that would be true.”