ABC News Announces News Ops Promotions

By Mark Joyella 

ABC News has promoted two longtime employees to new roles; Brian Kennedy becomes vice president, global news gathering and planning; and Zach Toback becomes vice president, news and non-fiction studio operations.

“Our mission across ABC News Operations is to connect, innovate and deliver in ways that support our programs and platforms’ focus on creating the best, most compelling content and help make ABC News #1,” said ABC News senior vice president of operations Bryan Castellani in a memo announcing the moves. “No two people represent that commitment better than Zach and Brian.”

Kennedy will lead ABC’s news acquisitions, field and bureau operations, while Toback will add oversight of ABC’s The View to his role managing production ops and studios.

Here’s the full memo:

From: Castellani, Bryan
Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 4:33 PM
To: #ABCTV News ALL
Cc: Toback, Zach N.; Kennedy, Brian M.
Subject: ABC News Operations Promotions – Brian Kennedy and Zach Toback

It’s a pleasure to announce the promotions of two of our key leaders — Brian Kennedy to Vice President, Global News Gathering Operations and Planning; and, Zach Toback to Vice President, News and Non-Fiction Production and Studio Operations.  Our mission across ABC News Operations is to connect, innovate and deliver in ways that support our programs and platforms’ focus on creating the best, most compelling content and help make ABC News #1.  No two people represent that commitment better than Zach and Brian.  They exemplify the charge to work as a team and succeed as ONE ABC News.

In expanded roles both will continue to drive elevated levels of collaboration, innovation and sharing of best practices, including broadening the opportunity for team members to contribute throughout the division.  In his role, Brian will lead a team of proactive innovators across news acquisition, field and bureau operations. They include Andrea Owen in Washington, Ronal Ellison in Los Angeles, Faruna Sanoon in London and Bob Schles, John Katrus, Larry Lafferty, Mike Verma and Fabian Westerwelle in New York.  While continuing to lead our production operations and studios group, Zach will add oversight of The View.  Supporting him will be the best team in the business — Julie Amar, Rick Figalora, Tamar Gargle, Ricki Goldberg, Glen Heil, Ryan McCormick and Patrick McNeive.

We all know Brian and Zach as standard bearers for effective, efficient and smart operational and technology solutions.  Their “can do” attitude no matter what the challenge has been well known throughout their careers as they have taken on and excelled as new opportunities and responsibilities have been added to their portfolios.

Brian’s first official day at ABC News was as a desk assistant in the Los Angeles bureau in 1994, the same day the OJ Simpson story broke.  From assignment editor to producer, 9/11 to Katrina, Brian has always been fascinated by the transformative role of technology.  From producing, Brian moved fully into operations at CBS News in 2007 before returning to ABC News in 2011.

Zach started at ABC News in 1995 as a tape coordinator for Good Morning America and soon after transitioned to producing video content for abcnews.com as one of its first employees.  He then spent a few years at NewsOne followed by a number of roles of increasing responsibility across the News division.  After a two year stint at NBC News, Zach returned to ABC News Ops in 2011 to his current role.

Please join me in congratulating them and wishing them all the best on their well deserved promotions.

Thank you,

Bryan —

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