Disney CEO Bob Iger is enacting a bold restructuring of the company, with Alan Bergman and Dana Walden serving as co-chairmen of Disney Entertainment. The announcement was made as part of the February 2023 earnings call on Wednesday, with Iger also reaffirming the leadership of Jimmy Pitaro for ESPN and Josh D’Amaro for Disney Parks.
“Alan Bergman and Dana Walden will be co-chairmen of Disney Entertainment, which will include the company’s full portfolio of entertainment, media and content businesses globally, including streaming,” Iger announced during the call. “Jimmy Pitaro will continue to serve as Chairman of ESPN, which will include [linear] ESPN networks, ESPN+ and our international sports channels. And Josh D’Amaro will continue to be chairman of Disney Parks experiences and products, which will include our theme parks, resort destinations and Cruise Line as well as Disney’s consumer products, games and publishing businesses.”
Iger added: “These organizational changes will be implemented immediately and will begin reporting under the new business structure by the end of the fiscal year. This reorganization will result in a more cost effective coordinated and streamline approach to our operations. And we are committed to running our businesses more efficiently, especially in a challenging economic environment.”
The move is seen as a rebuttal to the structure Bob Chapek put in place in his two-year run as CEO. It dismantles Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, which Chapek created to centralize budgeting and distribution authority, taking power away from the company’s creative chief. DMED was run by Kareem Daniel, who was one of the first to depart when Iger returned as CEO.
“I’ve always believed that the best way to spur a great creativity is to make sure that people who are managing the creative processes feel empowered,” Iger said. “Therefore, our new structure is aimed at returning greater authority to our creative leaders and making them accountable for how their content performs financially. Our former structure severed that link and must be restored.”
Iger said creative teams would be deciding what gets made, how it’s distributed and how it gets marketed.
“Moving forward, our creative teams will determine what content we’re making, how it is distributed and monetized and how it gets marketed,” he continued. “Managing costs, maximizing revenue and driving growth from the content being produced will be their responsibility.”
Walden was previously chairman and CEO of Fox Television Group and replaced Peter Rice as chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content in June 2022 under Chapek. Before that role, she served as chairman of entertainment, Walt Disney Television.
Bergman was elevated to Disney Studios Content chairman in 2020.