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Disney’s Latin America executive Carolina Lightcap has been named president of Disney Channels Worldwide.
She replaces Rich Ross, who departed in early October to become chairman of Walt Disney Studios.
Meanwhile, Ross’ second in command, Gary Marsh, entertainment president for Disney Channels Worldwide, will add chief creative officer to his title.
Lightcap, a 20-year industry veteran, joined the Walt Disney Co. in 2000 and most recently served in the dual roles of senior vp programming and creative affairs for Disney Channels Latin America and chief marketing officer for the Walt Disney Co., Latin America.
She will assume her new president position effective immediately and will relocate from Buenos Aires to Burbank.
Marsh will remain in charge of all program development, creative and production for the channels, reporting to Lightcap.
“Carolina has made enormous contributions to Disney over the past decade, especially in launching and building Disney Channel Latin America into the #1 cable channel in the region,” said Anne Sweeney, president of Disney/ABC Television Group, to whom Lightcap will report.
Sweeney also praised Marsh for being “the creative force behind Disney Channel’s tremendous success and some of the Walt Disney Co.’s most heralded and popular franchises including ‘Hannah Montana’ and ‘High School Musical.’ “
Sweeney launched a search for Ross’ replacement immediately after his exit, focusing primarily on the company’s deep executive bench, especially internationally, as the position requires extensive travel and communication with Disney Channel outposts all over the world.
Media congloms’ international TV operations are increasingly becoming a key pool for top executive talent.
In 2007, News Corp. tapped another seasoned international TV executive little known in the U.S., Fox International Channels Italy president Emiliano Calemzuk, as president of Fox TV Studios.
In her previous Disney Channels Latin America post, Lightcap led the transition of the local Disney Channel from a premium to basic service and its subsequent ratings growth. She also oversaw the rebrand of Jetix to Disney XD and the launches of “High School Musical” and Playhouse Disney Channel throughout the region.
Lightcap was also instrumental in the launch of three local “HSM” feature films, a “HSM”-themed talent competition and a five-country tour.
Before joining Disney, Lightcap served as vp programming, sales and marketing for Sky Latin America Partners, based in Miami, and as executive director, Latin America for Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
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