The nine key people who run Disney’s vast media and entertainment empire

Bob Iger’s shakeups have changed Disney a lot this year. Getty Images/Observer

The Walt Disney (DIS) Company is often associated with theme parks and animated films. The company’s actual business reach, one of the largest in the global entertainment and media industry, is much larger. Through expansion and a series of acquisitions over the past few decades, Disney now also owns television networks, streaming services, a cruise line and a variety of consumer products. And it takes more than a handful of executives to ensure these business areas run smoothly.

Disney underwent a major restructuring earlier this year under returning CEO Bob Iger. In February, Iger announced Disney’s restructuring into three branches:

  • Disney entertainmentwhich includes all of Disney’s film, television and streaming services

  • Parks, experiences and products This includes theme parks, the cruise line, resorts and all consumer products

  • ESPN includes eight linear networks, ESPN’s streaming service ESPN+, corporate sports events, and audio, digital, social and fantasy platforms

Many of Disney’s top executives are long-time company veterans but now hold new positions because of Iger’s restructuring. Here are nine key people Disney’s many divisions and media brands:

Bob Iger, CEO

Iger was CEO of Disney from 2005 to 2020 and chairman from 2005 to 2021. He announced his intention to retire in 2020, but returned to the media conglomerate in November 2022 when his successor, Bob Chapek, was ousted by the Disney board. Iger said he wants to remain CEO until at least 2026 while the company finds a new successor. This year, he led a major executive restructuring at Disney, and many of the positions listed below were created.

Hugh Johnston, Chief Financial Officer

As the newest member of Disney’s leadership team, Hugh Johnston takes on a position most recently held by Christine McCarthy before she resigned in June. After McCarthy left, Kevin Lansberry, the chief financial officer of Disney’s parks division, took over as interim CFO until Johnston’s appointment on November 6. Johnston is the only manager on this list who comes across as an underdog. Before joining Disney, he was CFO of PepsiCo for nearly 14 years.

Asad Ayaz, Chief Brand Officer

Asad Ayaz has been with Disney for 18 years. He led marketing efforts for Walt Disney Studios and Disney+ before being promoted to brand chief in April. Ayaz now oversees the marketing of all Disney products and services across its divisions, including theme parks and ESPN.

Alan Bergman and Dana Walden, co-chairs of Disney entertainment

Disney Entertainment is a new entity formed in February. Iger named Alan Bergman, who previously headed Disney’s studio division, and Dana Walden, head of Disney’s TV products, to lead all of the company’s entertainment properties, including Marvel Studios, Pixar, Disney+, Hulu, ABC, Disney Channel and other film – and TV content production companies for TV content.

Walden joined Disney in 2019 through Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox, where she was head of Fox Television Group. She is the highest-ranking female executive at Disney. Bergman has been with Disney since 2005. He started as president of Walt Disney Studios and was named co-chairman of the studio in 2019.

Joe Earley, President of Direct-to-Consumer (Head of Streaming)

Joe Earley leads Disney’s streaming products, part of Disney Entertainment, reporting to Bergman and Walden. He was previously president of Hulu and was promoted to succeed Michael Paull, who stepped down as head of direct-to-consumer business in April. Earley has been with Disney since 2019. He started as marketing and operations manager for the launch of Disney+.

James Pitaro, chairman of ESPN

James Pitaro was named chairman of ESPN in February following a restructuring that made ESPN a separate division of Disney. Previously, ESPN and Pitaro were part of Disney’s entertainment division Operates ESPN and all sports content on the Disney networks.

Pitaro has been with Disney since 2010. He joined as co-president of Disney Interactive, the company’s video game developer and publisher. He later held positions including chairman of consumer products and interactive media and president and co-chairman of the now-defunct Disney Media Network. Before joining Disney, Pitaro was head of media at Yahoo.

Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Parks, experiences and products

Josh D’Amaro has been with Disney for 25 years. In his current position, D’Amaro oversees Disney’s domestic and international theme parks and resorts, Disney cruises and consumer products such as toys, digital games, Disney Publishing and shopDisney. He was promoted to head of Disney In 2020, he took over the Parks, Experiences and Products department. Previously, he was president of Walt Disney World Resort.

Kevin Lansberry, chief financial officer of Parks

In addition to a corporate CFO, Disney has a second chief financial officer for its parks division. Lansberry was CFO of Disney Parks from 2017 until June of this year, before temporarily leaving the company to fill the corporate CFO position. With Johnston’s appointment, Lansberry is expected to return to his old post. He previously held several positions in the parks department, including vice president of Animal Kingdom and senior vice president of global travel operations. Lansberry has been with Disney for 37 years.

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Read the original story “The Nine Key People Running Disney’s Vast Media and Entertainment Empire” and others by Nhari Djan at Observer.

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