Disney’s media sales boss to exit in Iger shake-up

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Chairperson of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution Kareem Daniel attends the annual Allen and Co. Sun Valley Media Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., July 6, 2022.

A day after returning to the company, Walt Disney Co DIS.N Chief Executive Bob Iger moved to undo a corporate structure put in place by his hand-picked successor.

In an email to employees on Monday, seen by Reuters, Iger said he would begin making operational changes at Disney, including a restructuring that puts decisions back into the hands of the company’s creative executives.

Iger said the restructuring would result in changes to Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, a unit former CEO Bob Chapek formed in October 2020 to centralize all film and television sales and distribution. The unit’s chairman, longtime Chapek lieutenant Kareem Daniel, will leave the company.

“I fundamentally believe storytelling is what fuels this company,” he said in the email. “And it belongs at the center of how we organize our business.”

Iger asked Disney’s general entertainment content chairman, Dana Walden, Disney studios chairman Alan Bergman, ESPN and sports content chairman James Pitaro and chief financial officer Christine McCarthy to come up with a new organizational structure built round the company’s creative teams.

Bank of America analyst Jessica Reif Ehrlich said Iger’s decisive action resembles his management approach during his first stint as Disney’s CEO.

During that time, he quickly calmed tensions with Pixar Animation Studio’s chief executive, Steve Jobs.

“I think he’s had two years to think about what he has to do,” said Ehrlich. “We all know he has not been satisfied with Bob Chapek’s performance.”