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Following CEO Bob Iger’s initial announcement that the media giant would be split into three divisions: Disney Entertainment, ESPN and Disneyland, Experiences and Products, Disney leadership on Thursday detailed a company-wide Details of the reorganization.
Under the new structure, as Iger announced Wednesday, television executive Dana Walden and film studio heads Allen Bergman Will run Disney Entertainment, which combines all of Disney’s television, film and streaming divisions. Together, they will be responsible for streaming strategies for Disney+ and Hulu, while overseeing content specific to their assigned brands. (Michael Paull continues to oversee the business and operations of Disney+ and Hulu, reporting to Bergman and Walden.)
Josh D’Amaro will remain with Parks, Experiences and Products, while Jimmy Pitaro will remain with ESPN.
Walden and Bergman will be responsible for international content and operations, joining Pitaro in sports, prompting international head Rebecca Campbell’s decision to step down from her role. “As a respected leader and industry veteran, Campbell will stay on through June to help with the transition,” Disney said in a statement.
Bergman will primarily oversee Disney Live, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures, and the Disney Music Group and Disney Theatrical Group.
Walden will air on ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Owned Television, Disney-Branded Television, Disney Television Studios, Freeform, FX, Hulu Originals, National Geographic Content and Onyx Collective.
Pitaro will continue to oversee eight linear networks, including ESPN and ESPN2; sports content on all Disney domestic and future international platforms; ESPN+; ESPN Audio; ESPN Digital; ESPN Social; ESPN Fantasy and various owned sports.
In addition to creative development and marketing for their brands, Walden, Bergman and Pitaro will add ad sales, content sales distribution, product and technology to their oversight, centralizing these departments.
According to Disney, “several shared services organizations” will now support Disney Entertainment and ESPN, “facilitating efficiencies across the company and creating more cost-effective, coordinated, and streamlined operations,” including: product and technology, by Asia Len Raberg; Advertising Sales, led by Rita Ferro; and Platform Distribution, led by Justin Connolly.
Excluding theatrical releases and music, which will be overseen by Bergman.
Outside North America, Disney’s media, entertainment and sports content and operations will continue to be managed regionally by Luke Kang, president, Asia Pacific; Jan Koeppen, president, EMEA; Diego Lerner, president, Latin America; and K Madhavan, president, India. Each of these leaders will report to Bergman, Walden and Pitaro as part of their global responsibilities.
“Storytelling and creativity have driven The Walt Disney Company for nearly 100 years, and nearly every interaction we have with consumers has been fueled by creativity,” Iger said in a statement Thursday. “I am committed to positioning this company for a new era of growth. Our strategic reorganization will return creativity to the core of the company, strengthen accountability, improve results, and ensure the quality of our content and experiences.”
Disney will begin reporting financial results under the new business structure at the end of this fiscal year.
See below for a memo from Bergman, Walden and Pitaro to employees.
On yesterday’s Q1 earnings call, Bob announced an exciting strategic reorganization to refocus the company on creativity, empower our creative leaders, and ensure we are accountable to our global business. We are inspired by Bob’s vision for the company during this time of great change and opportunity, and we are honored to lead our respective global business groups at this important time in Disney’s history. Disney’s legacy of creating and delivering world-class entertainment through our unparalleled brands and franchises remains at our core. It is with this spirit of creativity and innovation that we proudly usher in a new era of extraordinary storytelling.
As you know, effective immediately, the company will be restructured into three core business segments: Disney Entertainment, ESPN and Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Today, we’re writing to provide you with details about the newly formed Disney Entertainment and ESPN business units, as well as information on how this reorganization will impact the divisions you’ve been working for. As we continue to finalize our operations and structure over the coming weeks, we hope to provide answers to many of the initial questions you may have about the future of our business.
Today, our colleagues from Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution (DMED) and International Content and Operations (IC&O) will join Disney Entertainment and ESPN, some of which will be part of one of the new shared functions that support our two businesses. We look forward to integrating our new team members more fully as we seek to collaborate at a higher level and create more meaningful connections between our series, film and sports content and our audiences.
Below are details about the new structure, which has been removed from the accompanying press release, along with some additional information.
First up is Disney Entertainment: This new division will be co-chaired by Alan and Dana, who will be responsible for the company’s entire portfolio of entertainment media and content businesses globally, including streaming.
ESPN will include ESPN Network and ESPN+, led by Jimmy. He will also be responsible for managing and overseeing the company’s entire portfolio of sports content, products and experiences across all Disney platforms worldwide, including its international sports channels.
The leader of each content group will have overall operational control and financial responsibility for creative development, marketing, sales and distribution, and will be responsible for driving business efficiencies.
Disney Entertainment co-chairs Ellen Bergman and Dana Walden will oversee the company’s global streaming business and manage all content decisions for Disney+ and Hulu.
Allen will also primarily oversee the following business and content brands: Disney Live, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures, and Disney Music Group and Disney Theater Group. In addition to Disney+, Asad Ayaz will continue to oversee marketing for Alan’s creative team and work closely with the Hulu marketing team.
Dana will also primarily oversee the following business and content brands: ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Owned Television, Disney-Branded Television, Disney Television Studios, Freeform, FX, Hulu Originals, National Geographic Content and Onyx Collective. As part of this reorganization, Debra OConnell will report to Walden as president of Networks (excluding ESPN). In addition to Hulu, Shannon Ryan will continue to oversee marketing for Dana’s creative team and work closely with the Disney+ marketing team.
Jimmy will continue to oversee eight linear networks, including ESPN and ESPN2; sports content on all Disney domestic and future international platforms; ESPN+; ESPN Audio; ESPN Digital; ESPN Social; ESPN Fantasy and various owned sports. The ESPN team will be responsible for the company’s entire portfolio of sports content, products and experiences across Disney platforms worldwide. Laura Gentile, who previously led marketing for Disney Networks and ESPN, will now focus on leading all aspects of ESPN marketing across all platforms.
Several shared services organizations across the company will support Disney Entertainment and ESPN, facilitate company-wide efficiencies and create a more cost-effective, coordinated and streamlined approach to operations. These include product and technology, led by Aaron LaBerge; advertising sales, led by Rita Ferro; and platform distribution, led by Justin Connolly, excluding theatrical releases and music, which will be overseen by Alan Bergman.
Outside North America, the company’s media, entertainment and sports content and operations will continue to be managed regionally by Luke Kang, President, Asia Pacific; Jan Koeppen, President, EMEA; Diego Lerner, President, Latin America; and K Madhavan, President, India. These leaders will report to each of us as part of their global responsibilities. As a result of these changes, International Content and Operations Chair Rebecca Campbell has decided to leave the company. Campbell, a respected leader and longtime industry veteran, will stay on through June to help with the transition.
Over the next few weeks, we will finalize operations and structure, including how our corporate functions will support our new corporate structure. During this transition period, Finance, Communications, Human Resources and Legal for DMED and IC&O will report to Christine McCarthy, Kristina Schake, Paul Richardson and Horacio Gutierrez, respectively.
As we heard yesterday, this restructuring of our company will result in a reduction in our overall headcount, which will affect every department and function in the company, and we are very mindful of the individual impact of these changes. More permanent decisions about individual roles and teams will be made in the coming weeks as we build our business in line with the company’s overall strategic priorities. These changes understandably have an impact on affected colleagues and we do not take them lightly. We will continue to be as transparent as possible throughout the process.
In the meantime, we encourage everyone to speak with your personal leader, who will have more information on tasks, reporting structures, and more shortly.
All three of us have deep admiration and respect for one another, and it has been a true honor to lead such talented teams and individuals. We are excited to continue to foster a culture where we can do our best work and look forward to building on your many incredible achievements as we begin this new chapter.
Thanks for all you do and you will hear more from us soon.
Allen, Dana and Jimmy