Disney’s Sean Bailey to Exit as Studios President, Dave Greenbaum Set as Head of Live-Action and 20th Century

Bailey has steered the studio’s live-action slate since 2010, overseeing the launch of Disney’s live-action remakes

Sean Bailey and David Greenbaum (via Getty Images, Disney)

Sean Bailey is leaving Walt Disney Studios after 15 years as president of the Motion Picture Group as David Greenbaum has been named to the newly created role of president of Disney Live Action and 20th Century Studios, the company announced on Monday.

Greenbaum will report to Disney Entertainment co-chairman Alan Bergman. 

“David has an incredible creative sensibility and eye for film, and he has built a reputation as an exceptional leader and creative executive, as proven by his track record at Searchlight Pictures and deep relationships throughout the industry,” Bergman said in a statement to TheWrap. “I’m thrilled that he’ll be taking on this new and important role. We’ve had the great fortune to have a strong creative leader in Steve Asbell at 20th Century, and I’m excited for him to work closely with David as we take a more strategic look across both brands from a creative and operational standpoint. I also want to thank Sean Bailey for his many contributions and leadership over his tenure at Disney. Searchlight remains in excellent hands under the guidance of Matthew Greenfield.”

“I want to thank Bob Iger and Alan Bergman for the extraordinary opportunity to continue the legacy of fabled and groundbreaking storytelling at both Disney and 20th Century — it’s an honor and responsibility I don’t take lightly, and I’m eager to get to work with Steve Asbell and the teams,” Greenbaum added. “At the same time, the last 14 years working alongside and in partnership with my dear friend and colleague Matthew Greenfield have been unforgettable — Searchlight and the incredible team there remain the gold standard for quality in our business, and I look forward to watching their continued success in the years to come.”

Bailey has steered the studio’s live-action slate since 2010, overseeing the launch of Disney’s live-action remakes. Bailey is stepping down and will segue to serve as a producer on “Disney’s Tron: Ares” and other projects. During his tenure, Bailey built a wide-ranging slate of Disney films that includes a highly successful collection of reimagined classics, such as the billion-dollar hits “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin.”

“Sean has been an incredibly important member of the Studio’s creative team for well over a decade,” Bergman said. “He and his team have brought to the screen iconic stories and moments that have delighted fans around the world and will stand the test of time. I know he’ll continue to do great things, and I couldn’t be happier that he’s staying on as a producer of ‘Tron: Ares.’”

“These 15 years at Disney have been an incredible journey, but the time is right for a new chapter. I’m deeply grateful to my exceptional team and proud of the slate and history we’ve built together,” Bailey added. “I joined Disney while producing ‘Tron: Legacy,’ so it seems fitting that I will have the opportunity to work on the latest ‘Tron’ as I depart. I wish Bob Iger, Alan Bergman and all my amazing colleagues the very best for a bright future.”

Additionally, reporting to Greenbaum, Asbell will continue to serve as president of 20th Century Studios, a role he has held since March 2020. Searchlight Pictures will continue to be led by Greenfield, who was named to the position alongside Greenbaum in April 2021.

A respected industry veteran, Asbell is responsible for shepherding 20th Century Studios franchises, including “Avatar,” “Planet of the Apes” and “Alien.” Greenfield is a 17-year Searchlight veteran who is responsible, alongside Greenbaum, for many of the studio’s most successful releases.


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