Former Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross has signed on with Shine America as CEO, the company said Tuesday.
Shine America is the U.S. wing of the Shine Group, the production company chaired by Rupert Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth Murdoch.
Ross is coming aboard to succeed current Shine America CEO Carl Fennessy, who's returning to Australia following the completion of his two-year term in Los Angeles. Fennessy will serve as joint CEO of Shine Australia in mid-2013.
Ross will join the company in January.
Ross, whose career includes tenures at Nickelodeon and FX Networks, served Disney in a variety of positions starting in 1996. He became chairman of the Walt Disney Studios in October 2009 and stepped down in April 2012, telling staff in a memo that overseeing the studio was "no longer "the right professional fit for me."
Ross joins a growing team at Shine America, which produces series such as "The Biggest Loser," "MasterChef," "Minute to Win It" and numerous others. In recent months the company, an arm of the Shine Group, has added NBC Universal veteran Vivi Zigler to its ranks, among others.
Ross' tenure as Walt Disney Studios chairman included such films as "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Muppets."
“I am very excited to join (Shine Group chairman) Liz (Murdoch), Alex (Mahon, Shine Group CEO) and the entire Shine team which has shown how a creatively-led content company can both be global in scope, yet nimble and entrepreneurial in local territories," Ross said. "I look forward to furthering the expansion of Shine America's portfolio both by adapting Shine's hit shows from around the world, as well as creating new original content.”
"Rich is an outstanding creative leader, responsible for not only launching iconic franchises but overseeing explosive growth in broadcast brands under his direction," Mahon said of the new hire. "He is perfectly suited to lead Shine America into its next phase of growth and complements Shine Group’s senior team of creative entrepreneurs globally.”
Calling Ross "a world-class executive" who she's "known and admired … for many years," Murdoch noted, "I am personally delighted that he has decided to join us and he will be a brilliant addition to the whole Group. We all welcome him warmly. On behalf of everyone at Shine, I would like to thank Carl for his outstanding leadership over the last 18 months. He will be missed in America as much as he will be welcomed home in Australia.”