Abbe Raven (pictured) is to retire from her position as A+E Networks chairman next year.
In a memo to staff on Sunday (November 2), she announced that after 33 years with the company her final day will be February 2.
In 1982, Raven landed a job as a production assistant after answering an ad in The New York Times for the launch of a cable channel that was then known as Daytime & Arts and later became A&E. She rose up the ranks as the company expanded its portfolio of channels, including History, Lifetime and FYI, reaching 350 million homes in 180 territories.
Over the past 15 years, she was a driving force behind network rebrands of A&E and History that shifted programming from documentaries to more character-driven reality fare such as A&E’s hit docu-comedy Duck Dynasty and History’s Pawn Stars franchise.
“I am thrilled that Nancy, who has been my business partner, my successor and my dear friend, will be guiding you and this company into a future of great opportunities and challenges,” Raven wrote in the memo to staff. “Nancy is a superb leader and a true visionary. We also have the best and brightest management team in the business.”
She also thanked her mentor and predecessor Nick Davatzes as well as her executive assistant Heather Graham.
Raven will continue to advise the company as chairman emeritus when called upon, and plans to continue working in the television industry on corporate and non-profit boards.
Raven recently joined the board of New York-based organization Pencil, which brings the corporate world together with public schools, and serves as vice chairman of the advisory board of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. She is vice chairman of the board for the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.
“Of course, I also look forward to more and longer walks on the beach with my husband, and to having the time to really explore the world,” she added.