We told you yesterday that Sean Bailey’s name was making the rounds of Hollywood to replace ousted Oren Aviv as Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production president. Now we can tell you it’s official. Bailey already has been fully engaged on the studio lot, producing the Joe Kosinski-directed Tron Legacy. That has been his biggest project since he left Live Planet, the production partnership with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Chris Moore. (See previous, Oren Aviv Pushed Out By Disney’s Rich Ross: “Someone In Mind” To Replace Him and The Rumored Oren Aviv Replacement Is….)
UPDATE: Disney has sent out the news release, noting that additional changes will “reinforce the studio’s new strategic direction” under chairman Rich Ross:
BURBANK, Calif., January 14, 2010 — Rich Ross, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios (TWDS), announced today that Sean Bailey has been named President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production as the segment continues to restructure its operation. In his new role, he will oversee all aspects of live-action development, film production and physical production for Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures. Additional changes to international theatrical distribution, multicultural initiatives, publicity, communications and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment were made as part of the business’ new strategic direction.
“Building upon a strong foundation with the company, Sean brings great creative instincts and considerable filmmaking experience to his new role at The Walt Disney Studios. His close relationships throughout the creative community and industry at large make him an ideal leader to set the direction of TWDS’ future film slates,” said Ross. “Sean’s talent, energy, and commitment to delivering quality content will help us achieve our goals of producing and distributing Disney-branded movies that entertain audiences worldwide.”
“I am honored and thrilled to join a company with the history and tradition of The Walt Disney Studios,” said Bailey. “Working with the strong team that has been assembled under Rich’s leadership, I look forward to working with the Studios’ impressive array of talented filmmakers to create entertaining, inspiring films that uphold the legacy and quality of classic Disney movies and capture the imagination of our global audiences.”
Bailey’s feature film producing credits include Matchstick Men, Gone Baby Gone and the upcoming Disney film, Tron Legacy. He is the founder and president of the production company, Idealogy, Inc. He also co-founded the integrated media firm, LivePlanet, with Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Chris Moore and was the executive producer of several high profile television programs including LivePlanet’s three-time Emmy-nominated Project Greenlight. Sean wrote the screenplay Liberty for The Walt Disney Company and co-wrote the screenplay Solace.
Sean has created, packaged and developed film, television and new media concepts for Walt Disney Pictures, Miramax, 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, DreamWorks, New Line Cinema, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., and all of the major television networks.
To further streamline the distribution of future TWDS’ theatrical content, Ross also announced today that 23-year Disney veteran Chuck Viane, President, Distribution for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, will take on all aspects of international sales and distribution across 70 countries, in addition to his on-going responsibilities overseeing domestic sales and distribution operations. Viane will report directly to Bob Chapek, President of Distribution for The Walt Disney Studios.
Other executives will take on new assignments as part of the Studios’ restructuring. Christine Cadena, currently Senior Vice President, Marketing, Synergy and Franchise Development, will become Senior Vice President, Multicultural Initiatives, leading all diversity and multicultural efforts. Michelle Sewell has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Global Publicity, overseeing the domestic and international publicity departments, and is responsible for formulating and executing worldwide publicity campaigns for all live-action and animated motion pictures. She will report to the head of marketing.
The Studios’ communications team will also transition as John Nicoletti becomes Vice President, Global Communications and Paul Roeder moves to Director, Global Communications. Heidi Trotta, Senior Vice President of Studio Communications, will stay on as a consultant for a transitional period.
Cadena, Nicoletti and Trotta will report directly to Ross.
“I’m fortunate that I have been able to access the deep talent pool within the Studio and throughout The Walt Disney Company,” said Ross.
In addition to the executive level changes, the Studio will also continue its reorganization of the workforce at Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.
“Our industry is evolving rapidly and in order to remain at its forefront, we are adapting our organization to be more agile, creative and responsive,” said Ross.