The Walt Disney Company's CEO, Bob Iger recently confirmed the company's plans to restructure its operations shortly after confirming plans to lay off 7,000 jobs. Including three-part collaborative business segment divisons, Disney Entertainment, ESPN, and Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, the changes will be made effective immediately. “For nearly 100 years, storytelling and creativity have fueled the Walt Disney Co., with virtually every interaction we have with our consumers emanating from something creative,” Iger said in a statement. “I am committed to positioning this company for a new era of growth. Our strategic restructuring will return creativity to the center of the company, increase accountability, improve results, and ensure the quality of our content and experiences.”
The modifications include appointing Alan Bergman and Dana Walden as Co-chairs of Disney Entertainment, leading the company’s full portfolio of entertainment media and content businesses globally, including streaming worldwide. Between them, Bergman and Walden will oversee the global entertainment streaming businesses and manage all content decisions for those services, including Disney+ and Hulu. ESPN will include ESPN networks and ESPN+. The divison will be led by Jimmy Pitaro, who oversees the company’s full portfolio of sports content, products and experiences across all Disney platforms worldwide. The leaders of each business segment will oversee all operational and financial aspects, including creative development, marketing, technology, sales, and distribution.
Outside North America, the company’s media, entertainment, and sports content and operations will continue to be managed regionally by Luke Kang, president Asia Pacific; Jan Koeppen, president EMEA; Diego Lerner, president LatAm; and K Madhavan, president India. These regional heads will report to Bergman, Walden, and Pitaro as part of their global responsibilities. As a result of the changes, Rebecca Campbell, chairman, international content and operations, is leaving the company. Walden, Bergman and Pitaro will now be tasked with overseeing the proposed job layoffs. Iger states he is “committed to positioning this company for a new era of growth. Our restructuring will return creativity to the centre, increase accountability, improve results, and ensure the quality of our content and experiences.”
In a related note, Iger told CNBC that he is open to the possibility of selling US-based streaming platform Hulu. Currently, Disney owns the majority of the business, but 33% belongs to rival studio Comcast. Under a pre-existing agreement, Comcast can compel Disney to buy its stake in 2024. So Disney has to make a decision about whether it wants to do this, or look to sell the business off (maybe to Comcast).“Everything is on the table right, so I am not going to speculate whether we are a buyer or a seller of it," Iger said. "But I have suggested that I’m concerned about undifferentiated general entertainment, particularly in the competitive landscape we are operating in.”