Netflix Poaches Disney Film Exec Tendo Nagenda

Tendo Nagenda - Getty - H 2018
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for THR

The move is a big get for the digital streaming giant.

After eight years with Walt Disney Pictures, rising film executive Tendo Nagenda is jumping to Netflix.

The move is a big get for the digital streaming giant, which is trying to take its movie production arm up to a level where it can compete against studios for popular popcorn and tentpole fare.

At Disney, Nagenda worked on a range of movies, from the modestly-budgeted, such as Queen of Katwe, to A Wrinkle in Time. While those struggled to find audiences, he also was working on major tentpoles such as the upcoming live-action versions of Dumbo and Mulan. He joined Disney in 2010 and is currently exec vp production, a title he has held for two years.

The move is an eye-popper for Disney observers. Nagenda was seen as a rising star at the studio; he was in the middle of a four-year contract and also was being mentored by senior Disney executives. But sources say that Nagenda sought assurances that he would move into the role of president of production when current president Sean Bailey moved up. Those assurances never came.

Nagenda is one of the most high-profile black film executives and Netflix, like most Hollywood companies, is said to be looking to increase the racial diversity of its executives. While the streamer has made headlines for signing prominent black showrunners Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris to massive talent deals, it fired top communications spokesman Jonathan Friedland earlier this year for using the N-word in a meeting.