Big Disney-ABC TV Shake-Up In CFO Roles

EXCLUSIVE… BREAKING…I’ve just learned that there’s a restructure underway that will consolidate the Disney/ABC financial top jobs under one top executive who’ll report to mogul Anne Sweeney. The new guy put in charge is Peter Seymour who’ll fill the newly created position of EVP and CFO for the Disney/ABC Television Group. He replaces both Jim Hedges, the 17-year CFO at ABC, and Jewell Engstrom, the 16-year CFO at Disney Cable. My sources tell me that Seymour may find a job in the new structure for both of them or one of them in the coming weeks. Seymour has been EVP of Strategy and Research for Disney Media Networks since 2008, and I’m told he will retain his oversight of strategy development for the Walt Disney Co’s worldwide broadcasting and cable programming business, as well as his supervision of research, customer relationship management, media planning, and franchise management. His new responsibilities consolidate financial control for the ABC Television Network, ABC Studios, ABC Owned Station Group, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Disney Domestic Television, ABC Family, Radio Disney and Hyperion Publishing. Mr. Seymour has been Executive Vice President of Strategy and Research for Disney Media Networks since 2008. Anne Sweeney, Co-Chair of Media Networks & President of the Disney/ABC Television Group, will make an announcement about the shake-up soon. Her thought process for consolidating the two jobs into one is to “streamline” decision-making and strategy. She views Seymour as a “proven” executive.

Seymour joined the Disney/ABC Television Group as a SVP in 2005. He was part of the team that developed the strategy for converting Toon Disney and Jetix channels worldwide into Disney XD, launching Disney Junior, and expanding Disney Channel into multiple international markets. He was an integral part of efforts to digitize ABCNews that led to ABCNews’ relationship with Yahoo and its 24-hour cable network joint venture with Univision. He also has been instrumental in planning the deployment of ABC, ABC Family and Disney content on digital platforms, including the recent launch of the Watch Disney apps in conjunction with Comcast. He also partnered with ESPN to launch the Disney Media and Advertising Lab in Austin. And his franchise management team is responsible for developing merchandising and licensing strategies for key properties like Phineas & Ferb, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, ABC Family’s Jane by Design, and ABC’s Castle, The Chew and Once Upon a Time.

Prior to joining Disney Media Networks, Seymour spent nine years in the Strategic Planning unit of the Walt Disney Co where he oversaw corporate development and worked closely with the broadcasting, internet, video games and technology units of the company. He joined Disney from The LEK/Alcar Consulting Group, where he managed strategy consulting projects in technology and media fields.

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