You already know about this by now, but here’s this morning’s news release that arrived while I was down for the count. I’ll come back to work Thursday:
Burbank, California – November 11, 2009 — Rich Ross, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios (TWDS), announced today a restructuring of the Studio’s Marketing, Distribution, and Operations divisions, reflecting a new strategic direction for bringing content to the global marketplace. This will give the Studio the flexibility, strength and competitive edge it needs to move forward.
Under this reorganization, Bob Chapek will take on the new role of president, Distribution, TWDS, and will be responsible for developing distribution strategy and overseeing the delivery of all motion pictures and television content, across the theatrical exhibition, home entertainment, pay TV, digital formats, and other new media.
In the Marketing division, a new president will be announced shortly to oversee marketing for live-action, animation, Miramax Films, DreamWorks, and Home Entertainment.
Alan Bergman, president, TWDS, will take on the new duties of overseeing Studio Franchises, Post Production, Disneynature and The Muppets Studio, while continuing to guide operations including Business Affairs, Legal Affairs, and Finance. Oren Aviv, president, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, will take on the added responsibility of Physical Production. All four business heads will report to Ross.
Additionally, with emphasis on new technology platforms in the worldwide arena, former Pixar technology head, Greg Brandeau, will assume the role of chief technology officer and executive vice president of TWDS, reporting to Ross.
Commenting on the announcement, Ross said, “The way today’s audiences and consumers experience our movies, home entertainment, and other multi-platform programming is rapidly changing as new technology offers more options than ever before. The Studio restructuring will embrace new possibilities and opportunities, and find innovative ways to provide quality entertainment that is readily available.”
Ross continued, “Bob Chapek has been at the forefront of new technology for many years, and has the expertise and track record to guide and consolidate our future distribution efforts. We are also fortunate to have Alan Bergman’s operational and financial leadership in many of the Studio’s most vital areas. With his terrific filmmaker relationships and creative expertise it is a natural and logical choice for Oren Aviv to assume oversight of physical production. During his years at Pixar, Greg Brandeau has helped to revolutionize the way technology is applied to the world of entertainment and he is the perfect choice to lead Disney into a new era.
“A certain amount of change is inevitable as we move to adopt a new strategic approach to the way we make, market and deliver our films.” said Ross.
As President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, Oren Aviv is responsible for all aspects of live-action development, film production and physical production for Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures banners at the Studio. Under Aviv’s leadership, the Studio has had major box office successes with such films as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Wild Hogs, Enchanted, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and Hannah Montana The Movie. Aviv’s impressive line-up of upcoming motion pictures includes: Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland starring Johnny Depp; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time from producer Jerry Bruckheimer and starring Jake Gyllenhaal; The Sorcerer’s Apprentice also from Jerry Bruckheimer and starring Nicolas Cage; and the highly anticipated action-adventure thriller Tron Legacy. Prior to heading production, Aviv was president of Marketing (2000-2006) and chief creative officer for The Walt Disney Studios. Aviv’s efforts helped The Walt Disney Studios hit the $1 billion mark at the domestic box office 12 times (over the past 15 years).
As President of The Walt Disney Studios, Alan Bergman is responsible for Studio Franchises, Disneynature, The Muppets Studio, as well as operations including Business Affairs, Legal Affairs and Post Production. A strong leader and business strategist with a solid track record, Bergman was the architect of the Miramax settlement and was also a key player in the negotiations of the acquisition of Pixar. Most recently he was involved in the negotiations of the long-term live-action distribution deal with DreamWorks. Bergman joined the company in 1996 as a director in the corporate controllership group with a focus on TWDS’ initiatives. In 1998, he was promoted to vice president of the company’s operations planning group, where he was responsible for developing the company’s annual operating plan. In 2001, Bergman was promoted to senior vice president and chief financial officer of TWDS and was upped to executive vice president and chief financial officer in 2002.
Greg Brandeau joined The Walt Disney Studios as Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President in November 2009. Prior to Disney, he served as Senior Vice President of Technology at Pixar Animation Studios where he was responsible for the systems and technology – the “digital pens and pencils” – that allow the artists to bring the directors’ visions to the screen. Greg’s team also furnished the technological infrastructure that made it easier for all employees to do a great job. Greg joined Pixar in 1996 as the studio’s Director of Technology. After five successful years, during which he was promoted to Vice President, Greg left the studio to broaden his expertise in other areas of technology. He returned to Pixar in 2004 as Vice President of Technology and was promoted to his current position in 2006.
As President of Distribution for The Walt Disney Studios, Bob Chapek is responsible for developing distribution strategy and overseeing the delivery of all motion pictures and television content, across the theatrical exhibition, home entertainment, pay TV, digital formats, and other new media. In his previous role as president of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Chapek led the organization to record-setting performances on titles as diverse as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, The Lion King and Finding Nemo. Additionally, he has played a key role in the commercialization of Disney’s live-action and animated direct-to-video business – such as sequels to Classic Disney movie franchises and the development of the Air Buddies live action movie franchise. Chapek is currently Chairman, and for five years served as President, of the Digital Entertainment Group, an industry association comprised of movie studios, the music industry, and consumer electronics hardware manufacturers brought together to advocate and promote the many benefits associated with physical and electronic media and new digital technologies. For WDSHE, Chapek has been the visionary on technological issues, and oversees the development of various new technologies including next generation high-definition Blu-ray Disc, in home 3D solutions, and interoperability solutions such as KeyChest and digital distribution (sell through only) of WDSHE movies.