Disney's Longtime Head of Global Sales and Distribution to Exit

Janice Marinelli Headshot - P 2013

Janice Marinelli Headshot - P 2013

Disney's longtime head of global sales and distribution Janice Marinelli is leaving the company after a 34-year run.

"It has been an honor to work for this company and a privilege to work with so many outstanding professionals,” Marinelli said Tuesday in a statement. “I’ve observed many changes in our industry over the years, and it is changing at a speed never seen before. While I have been considering this decision for some time, I was committed to seeing our team through the acquisition and integration of 21st Century Fox. Now that we’ve reached these important milestones, I believe the time is right for me to step down.”

Marinelli was promoted in December to add oversight of Disney's forthcoming streaming service Disney+ to her purview. As president of global content sales and distribution, she oversaw the integrated sales organization and led oversight of sales efforts for the portfolio of content and the distribution of the direct-to-consumer apps worldwide. She also led the global distribution of film and TV programming via home entertainment, broadcast and digital platforms, SVOD, pay networks, Hulu and more.  

“Janice has contributed immeasurably to Disney over the past three decades architecting and successfully negotiating thousands of innovative deals that have benefited our company and will continue to do so for years to come," said Kevin Mayer, chairman of Disney's newly created direct-to-consumer and international division (and to whom Marinelli reported). "I am so grateful for her insightful counsel and steadfast collaboration over the past year as we laid the foundation for DTCI and the upcoming launch of Disney+. I especially appreciate her willingness to stay on and see us through this time of tremendous change.”

A replacement for Marinelli has not been announced.

During her Disney tenure, Marinelli's sales and distribution team have worked on properties from the company's rapidly growing portfolio, including Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox Film, Fox Animation, Disneynature, ABC Studios, ABC Entertainment, National Geographic, FX Productions, 20th Century Fox TV, Freeform, Disney Channel and more.

Marinelli joined Disney's Buena Vista TV in 1985 as an account exec before rising through the ranks. She was named executive vp in 1996 and president in 1999, and added home entertainment and TV distribution roles in 2013.

Marinelli's departure arrives as Disney continues to restructure its executive ranks after landing an influx of executives at all levels as part of its $71.3 billion Fox asset acquisition. As part of that deal, Disney now has multiple execs in similar roles. It most recently parted ways with ABC Studios president Patrick Moran as the company tapped 20th TV's Jonnie Davis to oversee that unit.

Still, the timing arrives six months after Marinelli was given oversight of Disney's all-important streaming platform. Her department moved to report to Mayer in March 2018.