Universal Theme Park Creative Division Gutted After Exit of High-Ranking Execs (Exclusive)

Comcast’s version of Walt Disney Imagineering has been incredibly impacted by an NBCU-wide early retirement initiative

Several high-ranking executives at Universal Creative — the division responsible for rides, shows and attractions at Universal parks worldwide — are heading for the exit just a few years before the launch of the new theme park Epic Universe, TheWrap has learned exclusively.

Thierry Coup, the charismatic and forthright senior vice president and chief creative officer of Universal Creative who oversaw the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (among other Disney-challenging expansions); Mike Hightower, president of Universal Creative; and Mike Harrington, vice president, engineering and safety at Universal Studios Florida, are among the executives who have quietly opted to take voluntary early retirement packages.

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Drew Taylor

Drew Taylor is a reporter at TheWrap. Before joining the organization in 2021, Drew was a freelance film journalist with a keen interest in animation and Disney history. Drew has been covering film, television and theme parks for 15 years. He has written for the New York Times, the New York Daily News, Time Out New York, Collider, The Playlist, Polygon, Vulture, Box Office Magazine, AOL Travel and Syfy. He was the executive editor and social media manager for Moviefone before it was purchased by MoviePass. Additionally, Drew co-created and co-hosts “Light the Fuse,” a weekly podcast dedicated to the “Mission: Impossible” film franchise that recently celebrated its 200th episode milestone. He also authored the book “The Art of Onward,” about the making of Pixar’s 2020 fantasy film, and provided liner notes for several Mondo vinyl releases for Pixar features (“Up,” “Coco” and “Lightyear”).