American business executive Anne Sweeney is known for her leading positions, especially at the Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox. Over the course of her career, which has spanned more than three decades, she has risen through the ranks of the entertainment industry amassing one success after another.
Born in 1957 in Kingston, New York to a school principal and a teacher, she studied at the College of New Rochelle where she earned a bachelor’s degree before completing a master’s degree in education at Harvard University.
As she once explained, her interest in entertainment and media started at a young age: “While I was in college, I became a page at ABC. Suddenly I was working for Good Morning America, local news, national news. The page is the lowest rung of the ladder, and it’s also the place where you can ask any question and not feel dumb.”
The experience proved life-changing, and she began her career at the kid-focused network Nickelodeon, where she spent more than 12 years in various executive positions. She then joined FOX from 1993 to 1996 and served as chief executive officer of FX Networks, successfully launching two cable networks.
Her next career stop was at Walt Disney in 1996. Less than one decade later, in 2004, she became the chief executive officer of the entire Disney Channel and the ABC group, overseeing Disney’s cable, broadcast and satellite properties around the world. She stepped down in 2015.
Active in organizations both within and outside her industry, she later pursued a career in television directing, serving as a board member for Netflix and Lego, and as a board trustee for the Mayo Clinic and Getty.
As such, in the light of her career, there is no surprise that her achievements have been recognized with several awards and rankings from, among others, Forbes, Fortune, the Hollywood Reporter and American Women in Radio and Television.
“I came from that generation that told women you can do anything. What they didn’t tell us is that you don’t have to do it all at once,” she once explained. Nevertheless, Anne Sweeney certainly seems to have done just that.