After 18 years at Disney, Anne Sweeney announced that she will leave the company in Jan to pursue a career in television directing. She is currently co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group.

“… As wonderful as the experience has been, there has always been a nagging voice in the back of my head pushing me to step out of the comfort zone of the executive ranks and more directly into the creative arena that enticed me to TV in the first place,” Sweeney said in a statement Tues. “I finally listened to that voice and thought, ‘if not now, when?’ I know my decision to step back from all of this to learn the art of Directing may seem surprising, but to me it’s a long realized dream.”

Disney chief Bob Iger applauded Sweeney’s accomplishments as well as her decision to follow her dream and looks forward to “having her direct one of our shows in the future.”

Sweeney joined the company in 1996 as president of Disney Channel and evp of Disney/ABC Cable Networks.Previously, she was chairman and CEO of FX Networks, since 1993.

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