Disney Exec Shuffle: International, Streaming, Consumer Products Reorganized

Kevin Mayer and Bob Chapek - Split - Getty - H 2018
Left, Richard Harbaugh, right, Valerie Macon, both Getty Images

Kevin Mayer will now oversee direct-to-consumer and international businesses, while Bob Chapek has added consumer products to his purview.

Disney is overhauling its corporate structure as it prepares to complete its $52.4 billion acquisition of Fox assets. 

As part of a comprehensive reorganization, the company announced Wednesday that it will consolidate its direct-to-consumer businesses, including its forthcoming streaming services, technology and international media operations into a single division. Disney chief strategy officer Kevin Mayer will lead the new group as chairman.

The changes mean the breakup of the Disney Consumer Productions and Interactive division that was first established in 2015 through the merger of the consumer products and interactive businesses. It come days after DCPI chairman Jimmy Pitaro was appointed to run sports network ESPN and co-chair Disney's television network business. 

As part of the reorganization, parks and resorts chair Bob Chapek will add consumer products to his purview and will become chairman of a new Walt Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products business. 

"We are strategically positioning our businesses for the future, creating a more effective, global framework to serve consumers worldwide, increase growth, and maximize shareholder value," Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement announcing the changes. 

Mayer's newly created Direct-to-Consumer and International segment will comprise the global, multiplatform distribution of content produced through Disney's Studio Entertainment and Media Networks group. It will include both ESPN+ and Disney's forthcoming family-friendly streaming service, as well as Disney's ownership stake in Hulu, which is expected to become a majority stake after Disney's acquisition of Fox is completed. Reporting to Mayer will be senior vp Agnes Chu, who will continue to oversee programming for the Disney streaming service, which is expected to feature stories from across Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm. 

BAMTech, the streaming video technology company in which Disney acquired a majority stake last year, will now house all consumer-facing digital technology and products across the company, a move that Disney characterizes as allowing for more consumer personalization and an improved user experience. 

Distribution operations led by Janice Marinelli and global advertising sales for all Disney networks, including ABC, ESPN and Freeform, will also move under Mayer.

"Delivering our great stories and characters directly to consumers on all high-quality devices around the world will provide the company with meaningful new revenue streams and opportunities for growth," said Mayer, who joined Disney in 2015 and has overseen the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Maker Studios and 21st Century Fox.

Iger added that the combination of the direct-to-consumer and international businesses will allow Disney "to deliver the entertainment and sports content consumers around the world want most, with more choice, personalization and convenience than ever before." 

Meanwhile, Disney is combining its parks and consumer products divisions to create a business that focuses on products and experiences that bring Disney characters to life. It significantly increases the oversight of Chapek, who has served as chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts since 2015.

"Having worked with the exceptional teams at both Parks and Resorts and Consumer Products, I know this combination of incredible skills and resources will lead to a whole host of new creative ideas for high-quality products and experiences to delight our guests," said Chapek. Iger added that Chapek "is the perfect leader to run these combined teams." 

Disney announced in December that it plans to acquire Fox's film and television studios, cable networks business, regional sports networks and its stakes in Hulu and Sky as part of a $52.4 billion deal. The purchase must still pass regulatory muster before it is completed.