Bob Iger's successor search: A look at Disney's internal candidates

FT analyzes Disney's internal CEO candidates. The list includes Dana Walden, Jimmy Pitaro, Alan Bergman and Josh D’Amaro.

By  Storyboard18Apr 15, 2024 4:02 PM
Bob Iger's successor search: A look at Disney's internal candidates
Left to right: Dana Walden,Alan Bergman,Jimmy Pitaro and Josh D’Amaro (Image source: The Walt Disney Company official website)

While Bob Iger has won the shareholder battle, Disney's challenges haven't vanished. Reviving the movie business, navigating the complexities of streaming profitability, and transforming ESPN for online success remain top priorities. However, the highest priority item on the list might be finding Iger's successor.

The Financial Times has compiled a list of the top four internal contenders for the post, all leaders navigating Disney's various brands and helping the company through the customer transition from TV viewers to ‘cord cutters’. These four candidates according to FT are include Dana Walden,Jimmy Pitaro, Alan Bergman and Josh D’Amaro.

Let us take a closer look at all four -

Dana Walden

As co-Chairman, Disney Entertainment, Dana Walden oversees Disney’s full portfolio of entertainment media, news and content businesses globally, including Disney’s streaming business.

Content businesses under her include the ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Owned Television Stations, Disney Branded Television, Disney Television Studios, Freeform, FX, Hulu Originals, National Geographic Content and Onyx Collective.

She shares responsibility for vital areas that impact Disney as a whole, including direct-to-consumer initiatives, technology, and advertising sales. Her influence also extends to international content and operations, ensuring a unified approach across the globe.

“Under Walden’s leadership, ABC has secured its position as the No. 1 entertainment network for four consecutive seasons – the first time that has happened in more than 25 years. Since she began overseeing Hulu’s signature Original series in 2019, the streamer has seen record viewership for such hits as ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ ‘The Kardashians’ and’Only Murders in the Building’,” said Disney’s website.

Walden previously served as chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content overseeing original entertainment and news programming for Disney’s streaming platforms, broadcast and cable networks.

Prior to joining Disney, Walden has worked with Fox Television Group, which included Fox Broadcasting Company, 20th Century Fox Television, Fox 21 Television Studios, Fox Consumer Products and the syndication supplier, 20th Television.

Jimmy Pitaro

Jimmy Pitaro, chairman ESPN took over the position in February 2023. Pitaro is responsible for full operational control and financial responsibility for ESPN, one of the three core business segments of The Walt Disney Company.

This includes the management and supervision of the company’s full portfolio of sports content, products and experiences across all of Disney’s platforms worldwide, including its international sports channels, creative development, marketing, sales and distribution.

“Since February 2016, Pitaro had served as Chairman of Disney’s consumer products and interactive media division, the world’s largest licenser of consumer products. Among his many responsibilities, he oversaw the creation of branded digital and physical products, including a robust digital game slate. He and his team brought to life the characters and stories of four iconic brands – Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel – across toys, apparel, home goods, the world’s largest children’s publisher, hundreds of Disney store locations worldwide, the e-commerce destination shopDisney, and the Disney Digital Network of social and digital channels that reach one out of every three U.S. social media accounts,” said the company website.

Pitaro had joined The Walt Disney Company from Yahoo in 2010. He joined as Co-President, Disney Interactive.

Alan Bergman

As Co-Chairman of Disney Entertainment, Alan Bergman’s domain encompasses Disney's entire portfolio of entertainment media and content businesses, from movies to streaming experiences.

This includes the prestigious Disney studios, crafting films for both the big screen and streaming platforms. These studios include Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, and Searchlight Pictures.

But Bergman's influence extends far beyond the studios themselves. He oversees a vast array of operations, including marketing, technology, theatrical distribution, and business groups across all these brands. Additionally, the renowned Disney Music Group and Disney Theatrical Group also fall under his purview.

Bergman also shares responsibilities for crucial areas like direct-to-consumer initiatives, technology, advertising sales and international content creation.

Bergman has served many roles is Disney since 2001.

According to official Disney data, in these roles, Bergman was deeply involved in leading the Studios’ integrations of Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, and the Fox film studios and its expansion into the production of content for Disney’s streaming services. During his tenure, Disney has set numerous box office records. As of 2022, it led the global box office for the seventh consecutive year, and it holds the record for the highest box office gross in a single year with $11 billion worldwide in 2019.

Bergman is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as the Television Academy. He represents Disney on the Motion Picture Association Board of Directors and also serves on the American Film Institute’s Board of Trustee.

Josh D’Amaro

As Chairman of Disney Experiences, Josh D'Amaro oversees a vast network that extends far beyond theme parks. His domain encompasses the legendary Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative engine behind Disney's magical experiences.

D'Amaro also leads the portfolio of Disney Parks, a network of 12 theme parks across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Disney Signature Experiences, offering family vacation options outside the parks, also falls under his responsibility. This includes the Disney Cruise Line with its five magnificent ships and two island destinations, as well as Disney Vacation Club, Adventures by Disney, and Storyliving by Disney.

Additionally, D'Amaro steers Disney Consumer Products. This includes licensing business for toys, apparel, and home goods, along with the title of the world's largest children's print publisher.

D’Amaro also oversees Disney's digital games and apps including the recent collaboration with Epic Games that intends create a whole new interactive entertainment universe.


Tags
First Published on Apr 15, 2024 3:48 PM

More from Storyboard18

Brand Makers

Nothing appoints Vishal Bhola as president for India business

Nothing appoints Vishal Bhola as president for India business

Brand Makers

Bata India appoints Deepika Deepti as head of marketing

Bata India appoints Deepika Deepti as head of marketing

Brand Makers

Warner Bros Discovery's Priya Dogra joins Comcast owned Sky as chief advertising and new revenue officer

Warner Bros Discovery's Priya Dogra joins Comcast owned Sky as chief advertising and new revenue officer

Brand Makers

Licious's parent company Delightful Gourmet appoints Karishma Gupta as CFO

Licious's parent company Delightful Gourmet appoints Karishma Gupta as CFO

Brand Makers

"No gender or education bias here coz we are woke baby": Anupam Mittal on Shark Tank effect

"No gender or education bias here coz we are woke baby": Anupam Mittal on Shark Tank effect

Brand Makers

P&G Hygiene and Health Care appoints Mrinalini Srinivasan as CFO

P&G Hygiene and Health Care appoints Mrinalini Srinivasan as CFO

Brand Makers

HiveMinds appoints Pradeep Saluja as chief operating officer

HiveMinds appoints Pradeep Saluja as chief operating officer

Brand Makers

Former P&G India head L.V. Vaidyanathan joins Modenik as executive chairman

Former P&G India head L.V. Vaidyanathan joins Modenik as executive chairman