James Pitaro now has sole control of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media with the departure of his Co-Chair, Leslie Ferraro, to “pursue marketing and consumer engagement projects” — with Disney her first client.
Pitaro is the sole Chairman of DCPI now, reporting to both COO Thomas Staggs and CEO Bob Iger.
Pitaro had run Yahoo’s media properties until 2010, when he moved to Disney to become co-president of its struggling Interactive Media Group with John Pleasants, who had been CEO of Playdom. The unit picked up with help from the hit Disney Infinity game and its focus on mobile gaming. Pitaro took charge when Pleasants left in late 2013.
Last year, Disney consolidated the Interactive and Consumer Products division, which Ferraro had run.
Staggs lauded Pitaro’s “keen eye for technological innovation and deep familiarity with the brands and franchises that continue to drive the segment’s growth.”
DCPI was one of the stars of the company’s year-end quarter. With help from merchandise tied to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it reported a 23% increase in operating income to $860 million with revenues up 8% to $1.91 billion.
But the company says that it has 11 franchises that have generated more than $1 billion apiece in annual retail sales during the past two years. And in the last three months of 2015, “we expected that Star Wars was going to cannibalize some of our other franchises more and it didn’t materialize,” Iger told analysts.
ABC helped the corporate cause last night by airing The Wonderful World Of Disney: Disneyland 60, which heavily promoted the parent company’s franchises and products.
As for Ferraro, Staggs says she created “many of our Parks & Resorts’ most successful marketing strategies and iconic campaigns. Given her proven marketing savvy, I know she’ll have great success in her new endeavor.”