Dear Fellow Employees memo from Alan Bergman, Dana Walden and Jimmy Pitar -
Dear Fellow Employees,
On our Q1 Earnings call yesterday, Bob announced an exciting strategic reorganization that refocuses the company on creativity, empowers our creative leaders and ensures we have accountability for our businesses globally. At this moment of great change and opportunity, we are inspired by the vision Bob has set for the company, and we are honored to be leading our respective business groups around the world at this important time in Disney’s history. Disney’s legacy of creating and delivering world-class entertainment through our unmatched brands and franchises remains central to who we are. And it is with that spirit of creativity and innovation that we proudly embark on a new era of exceptional storytelling.
As you heard, effective immediately, the company will be reorganized into three core business segments: Disney Entertainment, ESPN, and Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Today, we are writing to provide you with details about the newly formed Disney Entertainment and ESPN business segments and information about how this reorganization will impact the segments for which you’ve all been working. While we continue finalizing our operations and structures over the coming weeks, we want to provide answers to many of the initial questions you may have about the future in store for our businesses.
Today our colleagues from both Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution (DMED) and International Content and Operations (IC&O) will be joining Disney Entertainment and ESPN, with some becoming a part of one of the new shared functions that support both of our businesses. We are looking forward to more fully integrating our new team members as we seek a greater level of collaboration and an even more meaningful connection between our series, films and sports content, and our audiences.
Below are details about our new structure which have been lifted from the attached release, as well as some additional information.
Firstly, Disney Entertainment: this new segment will be co-chaired by Alan and Dana who will be responsible for the company’s full portfolio of entertainment media and content businesses globally, including streaming.
ESPN will include ESPN networks and ESPN+, and will be led by Jimmy. He will also be responsible for 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.
The leaders of each content group will have full operational control and financial responsibility for creative development, marketing, sales, and distribution, and will be accountable for driving business efficiencies.
Disney Entertainment Co-Chairmen Alan Bergman and Dana Walden will oversee the company’s global streaming business and manage all content decisions for Disney+ and Hulu.
Alan will also have primary oversight of the following businesses and content brands: Disney Live Action, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, and Searchlight Pictures as well as Disney Music Group and Disney Theatrical Group. Asad Ayaz will continue to oversee marketing for Alan’s creative groups in addition to Disney+, working closely with the Hulu marketing team.
Dana will also have primary oversight of the following businesses and content brands: ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Owned Television Stations, 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, Networks (excluding ESPN). Shannon Ryan will continue to oversee marketing for Dana’s creative groups in addition to Hulu, working closely with the Disney+ marketing team.
Jimmy will continue to oversee eight linear networks, including ESPN and ESPN2; sports content across all Disney domestic and, going forward, international platforms; ESPN+; ESPN Audio; ESPN Digital; ESPN Social; ESPN Fantasy and a variety of owned sports events. The ESPN team will be responsible for the company’s full portfolio of sports content, products and experiences on Disney platforms worldwide. Laura Gentile, who previously had marketing responsibilities across Disney Networks and ESPN, will now focus solely on leading all aspects of ESPN marketing across all platforms.
Several shared-service organizations across the company will support both Disney Entertainment and ESPN, facilitating company-wide efficiencies and creating 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 Distribution and Music, which will be overseen by Alan Bergman.
Outside of 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 LATAM; and K Madhavan, President India. These leaders will report to each of us as part of their global responsibilities. As a result of the changes, Rebecca Campbell, Chairman, International Content and Operations, has decided to leave the company. An esteemed leader and longtime industry veteran, Campbell will stay on through June to help with the transition.
In coming weeks, we will finalize operations and structures, including how our corporate functions will support our new company structure. During this transition, DMED and IC&O finance, communications, HR, and legal will report, respectively, to Christine McCarthy, Kristina Schake, Paul Richardson and Horacio Gutierrez.
As we heard yesterday, this reorganization of our company will result in reductions to our overall workforce, which will affect every segment and function across the company, and we are very mindful of the personal impact of these changes. More permanent decisions about individual positions and teams will be made in the coming weeks as we build out our operations in alignment with the company’s overall strategic priorities. Understandably, these changes will take a toll on colleagues who will be impacted, and we do not take that lightly. We will continue to be as transparent as possible throughout this process.
In the meantime, we encourage everyone to speak with your individual leaders, who will soon have additional information about assignments, reporting structures, and more.
The three of us share deep admiration and respect for one another, and it is a true privilege to lead such talented teams and individuals. We are excited to continue to foster a culture where we can do our very best work and look forward to building on your many incredible achievements as we embark on this new chapter.
Thank you for all that you do, and you will hear more from us soon.
Alan, Dana and Jimmy
Disney leadership broke down the specifics of the company-wide restructuring Thursday, following CEO Bob Iger’s initial earnings re-org announcement that split the media giant into three divi…