NBC News Vet Wheatley Retiring

The changing of the guard at network news departments continues unabated.

After a 30-year run at NBC News, vice president of news Bill Wheatley plans to retire in June.

He will be just he latest in a lengthening list that includes anchors Tom Brokaw (a long-time Wheatley colleague) and CBS' Dan Rather, PBS' Bill Moyer, the planned December departure of  ABC's Ted Koppel and Nightline producer Tom Bettag the illness-related absence of Peter Jennings.

Wheatley oversees NBC's news gathering operation and its hard news entities,including Nightly News, NBC News specials, NBC News Radio and NBC Mobile. He also manages NBC's partnerships with international broadcasters and news organizations including The Washington Post, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal.

"For 30 years, no one has been more dedicated to the mission of NBC News than Bill Wheatley," said Bob Wright, vice chairman, GE, and chairman and CEO, NBC Universal, in a statement. "Bill's commitment to excellence, his integrity, and his broad knowledge and experience have been of enormous value to the entire organization. We wish him all the best on a well-deserved retirement even as we regret seeing him go."

Wheatley literally co-wrote the book on NBC News policies. In his current job, which he got in 1993, Wheatley co-authored NBC News' policies and guidelines.

Wheatley was executive producer of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw from 1985 to 1990 and was previously a senior producer on the newscast for six years.

Wheatley got his start in news on the local station side. He joined then NBC-affiliate WBZ Boston in 1967 as a management trainee and went on to be the station's news director.

Wheatley says he will pursue new journalism-related opportunities, but does not have anything lined up yet.

Among the stories he says stand out during his NBC run were traveling to China with President Reagan, covering the late Pope John Paul II's trip to Poland and being in Prague when the communist regime in Czechoslovakia fell, plus numerous presidential elections and inaugurations. "I feel very privileged to have had all of these opportunities," Wheatley says.

NBC plans to fill the post but has not begun the search, according to the network.