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NBC News VP Wheatley to Retire

Apr 13, 2005  •  Post A Comment

NBC News VP Bill Wheatley announced to his staff Wednesday that he will retire in June, ending a three-decade career as one of the most experienced, well-respected and well-liked network news executives on the scene.

There was no word about how NBC News President Neal Shapiro will assign Mr. Wheatley’s many areas of responsibility and expertise, which over the years have grown into what some call a relentless job.

“After more than 30 challenging and rewarding years with NBC News, I’ve decided that it’s time to trade in the beeper and the BlackBerry and move on to something different,” Mr. Wheatley said in his internal announcement.

Since 1993 Mr. Wheatley has overseen domestic and international news gathering for NBC’s hard-news programming-a role that involves everything from making sure election results are accurate to making NBC News personnel in war zones are as safe as possible. He also has coordinated NBC News’ content-exchange relationships with international broadcasters, news agencies, The Washington Post, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal and is co-author of the NBC News standards and practices handbook.

Mr. Wheatley said, “It’s been my good fortune to have had a front-row seat to history and to have played a role in communicating it to millions of viewers.”

Mr. Wheatley joined NBC News in January 1975 as an assignment editor after working in local news in Boston. After a year in charge of NBC News’ long-form and investigative programming and six years as a senior producer on “NBC Nightly News,” he was executive producer from 1985 to 1990 of the flagship newscast anchored by Tom Brokaw, an era in which “Nightly” received numerous duPont-Columbia, Emmy and Overseas Press Club awards. In November 1989 Mr. Brokaw and Mr. Wheatley took “Nightly” to Berlin to broadcast live from the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.

He has attended every New Hampshire primary and every national political convention since 1976 and executive produced NBC election-night broadcasts in 1984, 1992 and 1996. In 1992 and 1996, he also was the executive in charge of NBC News’ portions of the PBS/NBC coverage of the national political conventions that aired on PBS.

“Bill is an institution at NBC News,” Mr. Shapiro said. “He brings a wealth of experience, professionalism and a passion for the news that is unmatched. His counsel has been invaluable to me in all my years of working with him, and he will be missed by all of us.”