We've Got Hollywood Covered

Will James Murdoch and Other Top Fox Executives End Up at Disney?

Here’s what the company chiefs said in the wake of the mega-deal

Anyone with an internet connection knows Disney officially bought 21st Century Fox today — but something none of us know yet is what the future holds for current Fox executives under their new roof at Cinderella’s Castle.

Management at both companies were asked about exactly that this morning during their respective acquisition conference calls, when the answers varied from vague to kind of interesting.

First, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger addressed whether Fox CEO James Murdoch would be given some sort of “ceremonial” or “strategic” role at the Mouse House.

“James and I have had a lot of conversations about the future of these companies. He has been great throughout this process,” Iger said. “He will be integral to helping us integrate these companies over the next number of months, and during that period of time he and I will continue to discuss whether there is a role here for him or not. But I look forward to talking with him about it.”

Earlier in the call, Iger responded to a more general “talent retention” query:
“As we’ve demonstrated in our acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and LucasFilm, we have not only respected the culture of those organizations, but we have respected and appreciated the talent that came with those acquisitions. And in all three cases, gave talent that came with those organizations more opportunities within our company.”

He noted that he started at ABC, which was bought first by Capital Cities and then by Disney. “And so our approach to the talent at the company that we’re buying is very, very similar. They have a lot of great talent. We obviously will work hard in the interim process — working closely with Fox senior management — to retain that talent, and then look for opportunities for all of them to grow within the larger company.”

Lachlan Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox and News Corp and James’ brother, also addressed the question Thursday morning.

“Over the next few months we will be working through the leadership and management structure of the new Fox, something we will announce closer to close,” he said.

Man of few words, that Lachlan.