The Walt Disney Company announced Wednesday that a longtime company executive, Debra O’Connell, would become president of a newly created division that will include ABC News and the company’s local stations.

The move, in effect, puts Ms. OConnell in charge of ABC News’ flagship properties, including “Good Morning America” and “World News Tonight.” Kim Godwin, president of ABC News since 2021, will remain in her role (executives said Wednesday that she had signed a new contract), but with one important caveat: She will now report to Ms. OConnell.

“Debra is an excellent executive who has been successful in a wide range of leadership roles at our company and knows well the extraordinary power of ABC News and its world-class journalists,” said Dana Walden, co-chairman of Disney Entertainment, in a statement. announced on Wednesday.

Debra OConnell will become president of a newly created division that will include ABC News and the company’s local stations.Credit…Randy Shropshire/Variety, via Getty Images

The reorganization mirrors what has happened in the network’s other news divisions. Several NBC News executives report to César Conde, president of the so-called NBCUniversal News Group, a division that includes local news and cable networks such as MSNBC. Wendy McMahon, president of CBS News, also oversees local stations.

By appointing Ms. OConnell to the new position, Disney added an executive layer between Ms. Walden and Ms. Godwin, who has had a bit of a rocky tenure since taking over as head of ABC News in 2021.

Last year, ABC News parted ways with “GMA3” hosts TJ Holmes and Amy Robach, ending a weeklong tabloid show after it was revealed that the hosts were romantically involved. Godwin initially kept both in the air, only to reverse course several days later. Holmes and Robach left the network a couple of months later.

“Good Morning America” remains the most-watched morning news program, but ratings have declined among adults under 54 (the key metric for advertisers) by 21 percent since September, more than “Today” or “ CBS Mornings,” according to Nielsen. The third-place CBS morning show has also scored some ratings wins over “GMA” since September, a rare occurrence.

In a note to employees, Godwin said the new executive structure would “allow us to better amplify the incredible work we all produce every day.”

“Debra and I have collaborated for the past few years and she is a dedicated leader who always champions the best in journalism,” Godwin wrote.

In a separate memo to employees, Ms. OConnell praised ABC News’ “world-class reporting.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to share how excited I am to bring together ABC News, ABC-owned stations and our network teams as one organization,” she wrote.