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Disney+ Original Content Chief Ricky Strauss to Exit

Joe Earley will take over Strauss’ duties

Ricky Strauss, who led Disney+’s original content efforts, is leaving the company at the end of January.

Strauss’ exit comes more than five months after Agnes Chu, who led the streaming service’s original programming efforts alongside Strauss, left to run Conde Nast Entertainment as its president. Over the past few months, Disney has reorganized multiple times to better prioritize streaming.

In October, Strauss’ role was changed into more of a content curation position rather than development; he also headed up marketing for the streaming service. Both Strauss and Disney streaming boss Rebecca Campbell said the reorganizations factored into Strauss’ decision.

“After nine years with The Walt Disney Company, and much contemplation over the past several months, I have come to the decision that it is time for me to move on to pursue new creative endeavors,” Strauss wrote in a memo Wednesday. “It took much thought and consideration, but with our new structure and the changes to my role, the reorganization does not provide me with the opportunity to do the kind of work I love to do and to continue making the intended impact I have been so fortunate to have achieved at Disney.”

Moving forward, Joe Earley will add content curation for Disney+ to his purview and continue to report to Michael Paull. Brian Henderson, who oversees content curation for Hulu, will report to Hulu chief Kelly Campbell.

Rebecca Campbell added in her own note: “Ricky has been an incredibly creative, dedicated leader and friend to so many of us at Disney. As Bob Iger has shared with me on many occasions, Ricky’s leadership of the Disney+ Content & Marketing efforts leading up to and following the launch of Disney+ has been remarkable – and we are so appreciative of his expertise, passion and care. However, the recent company reorganization led to a significant change in Ricky’s role. After a great deal of reflection, he decided it was time to pursue new creative endeavors.”

Strauss exits Disney+ following a strong first year for the service in terms of subscribers as well as original content hits like “The Mandalorian” and the “High School Musical” TV series. Earley came to Disney in 2019 to work under Strauss on marketing and operations.