Wheatley to Retire From NBC News

Apr 18, 2005  •  Post A Comment

NBC News VP Bill Wheatley will retire in June after 30 years as one of the most widely experienced, well-respected and well-liked news executives in the business.

There is no word about how NBC News President Neal Shapiro will assign the areas of responsibility and expertise that had accrued over the years into what some call a relentless job.

There is arguably not a major news event, news issue, technology or trend in the past two decades for which Mr. Wheatley did not become a go-to guy for NBC News and more than one generation of TV beat reporters who covered everything from conventions, campaigns and vote counts to keeping journalists safe in war zones.

“I will not miss the 3 a.m. phone calls,” Mr. Wheatley told TelevisionWeek last week, when NBC News staffers learned that it was official that he would “put down the beeper and the BlackBerry and move on to something different” in June.

Mr. Wheatley had planned to retire when he turned 60, which happened last October, during an exceedingly busy period that included the presidential election and increasing danger for journalists in Iraq. It also brought the first full-tilt test of the new National Election Pool, which Mr. Wheatley and other TV news and Associated Press executives created to replace the Voter News Service as the key source of exit-polling data for their consortium and other clients.

Since 1993 Mr. Wheatley has overseen domestic and international news gathering and hard-news programming. He also has coordinated NBC News’ content-exchange relationships with international broadcasters, news agencies and The Washington Post, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal. He is the co-author of NBC News policies and guidelines.

“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 said.

Mr. Wheatley joined NBC News in January 1975 as an assignment editor, after working in local news in Boston. He was promoted to national assignment editor some nine months later.

After a year in charge of NBC News’ long-form and investigative programming and six years as a senior producer on “NBC Nightly News,” Mr. Wheatley was executive producer of the flagship newscast anchored by Tom Brokaw from 1985 to 1990.