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Laying the course for the future, Alan Bergman is succeeding Alan Horn as Walt Disney Studios chairman, while Horn will focus solely on his role as chief creative officer, the company announced Monday.
The move isn’t a surprise. The two executives have been running Hollywood’s most prosperous movie studio together since spring 2019, when Bergman was named co-chairman and Horn gained the additional title of chief creative officer.
Horn, whose 50-year-plus career makes him one of Hollywood’s most respected figures, is following a similar path to that laid out by former Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger.
In February, Bob Chapek took over as CEO of the conglomerate, while Iger said he would remain deeply involved in Disney as executive chairman with a focus on the creative side of the business.
“The Walt Disney Studios’ achievements under the leadership of Alan Horn and Alan Bergman have been nothing short of extraordinary,” Chapek said in Monday’s statement. “Our studios are unmatched in their ability to create incredible cinematic experiences, and with this new structure, we are ensuring a vital continuity of leadership.”
The shift within the executive ranks of the movie studio is effective Jan. 1, and comes as Hollywood continues to grapple with the ongoing pandemic and turn its focus to streaming services, such as Disney+, which is an enormous priority for the company.
Bergman and Horn will report to Chapek. In turn, the leads of Disney’s production labels, including Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Pixar, 20th Century and Searchlight, will report to Horn and Bergman on creative matters.
As chairman, Bergman will oversee creative, production, marketing and operations for Disney Studios Content. He’s been with the company for 24 years. Along the way, he served as president of Walt Disney Studios from 2005 to 2019 and played a leading role in the integration of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox. Also during that time, 25 films earned more than $1 billion at the global box office.
Horn, who ran Warner Bros. for years before arriving at the top Disney job in 2012, is also credited with the studio’s unrivaled success in recent years. As chief creative officer, he will focus on the creative aspects of the content pipeline, working in partnership with Bergman on its creative approach.
“I am grateful to take on the role of chairman of the studios as I believe deeply in our people, culture, and the work we do,” Bergman said. “I am also thankful to Bob Iger and Alan Horn for their leadership and the trust they’ve placed in me over the years and to Bob Chapek for his continued support, especially during this challenging year.”
Added Horn, “It has been an honor to lead The Walt Disney Studios over the past eight-plus years, and I’m so grateful not only to Bob Iger for making it possible in the first place but to the Studios team, whom I find endlessly inspiring — I hope they are all as proud of what we’ve been able to do together as I am,” said Horn. “It has been an amazing run, and the time feels right to shift my focus solely to our enormous creative slate. As for our new studios chairman, Alan Bergman has been at my side since day one; he has been the best partner imaginable, and the team could be in no better hands.”
During their tenure, Disney Studios set numerous records at the box office, surpassing $7 billion globally in 2016 and 2018 and $11 billion in 2019, the only studio ever to have reached these thresholds.
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