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Dana Walden has solidified her senior executive team.
Following the early February news that she was being upped to co-chairman of Disney Entertainment, Walden has streamlined her reporting structure with both John Landgraf and Simran Sethi adding responsibilities.
Landgraf, who has long been a creative standout at FX, has added prestige brands Nat Geo and Onyx Collective to his oversight. As Walden noted in her internal memo, Onyx remains a major Disney priority, as evidenced by its well-funded roster of diverse talent, and will continue to be run by Tara Duncan. In fact, as part of the new structure, Duncan will be solely focused on Onyx, with her Freeform programming responsibilities shifting to Sethi, who will maintain her role at ABC Entertainment as well.
In the new structure, which comes after returning CEO Bob Iger’s swift dismantling of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, National Geographic head Courteney Monroe and Duncan will report to Landgraf, who will continue to be one of Walden’s direct reports. Monroe, whose brand just earned its third Oscar nomination for Fire of Love, will now oversee all aspects of the Nat Geo brand, including its magazine, digital efforts and original content strategy.
For Sethi, now executive vp programming and content strategy for ABC and Freeform, the additional purview marks a return to a younger-skewing brand that she helped to launch. She will continue reporting to Disney TV Group president Craig Erwich, who also counts Disney Branded TV president Ayo Davis as one of his direct reports.
With DMED no longer, president of networks and TV business operations Debra O’Connell was added to Walden’s group, where she’ll now add research, labor relations and TV business operations to her many hats. Newly upped president of Disney Television Studios Eric Schrier will oversee global original TV strategy, working closely with Disney’s regional leaders.
The full memo from Walden, whose own star has risen under Iger, follows.
Since the announcement of Disney Entertainment, I’ve spent time thinking about how to organize my team in a way that will enable me to focus on my newly expanded role, in partnership with Alan. I will continue to rely on the same incredible leaders who have delivered hit after hit onto our platforms and into our rich library, but have made some changes to our structure, which are outlined below:
- Onyx Collective remains a huge priority, and as its impressive roster of creators and series continues to grow, Tara Duncan will now focus exclusively on Onyx.
- National Geographic Content recently earned its third Oscar nomination and has attracted some of the biggest stars to its impressive slate of series and doc films. Courteney Monroe will now oversee all aspects of the brand, including its digital footprint and iconic magazine, along with its original content strategy.
- Tara and Courteney will now report directly to John Landgraf, combining the strength of three prestigious brands.
- As Tara’s focus shifts to Onyx, Freeform programming and development will be combined with ABC Entertainment, and Simran Sethi will oversee both. This represents Simran’s return to a brand she helped launch. She will continue to report to Craig Erwich.
- Over the past six months, Ayo Davis and Craig have worked together very successfully on Disney Branded Television streaming originals. Ayo will continue to report to Craig for streaming, and now that structure will expand to also include the development and programming of Disney Channel and Disney Junior.
- Debra OConnell, who recently joined my leadership team, will continue to oversee networks and ABC Owned Television Stations, and will add research, labor relations and TV business operations to her purview.
- Disney Television Studios will remain under Eric Schrier, who will expand his responsibilities to include our global original television strategy, working closely with our talented regional leaders.
Great stories are the lifeblood of our company, and I will remain deeply connected to the creative side of our business. As we begin our new chapter together, I have the utmost confidence in this team of proven and formidable leaders. I am very grateful to Bob for reuniting and realigning our company in such a meaningful way.
I want you all to know how much I appreciate your passion and your pursuit of excellence, which will be key to our success in the months and years ahead.
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