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Disney CEO Bob Iger plans restructuring, Chapek loyalist Kareem Daniel to depart

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Bob Iger attends the World Premiere of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures ‘Avengers: Endgame’ at Los Angeles Convention Center on April 22, 2019.

Jeff Kravitz | FilmMagic, Inc | Getty Images

Bob Iger, lower than 24 hours after returning to the helm of Disney, told employees Monday that the corporate could be undergoing a restructuring in coming weeks.

Certainly one of the primary steps, Iger announced, could be the departure of Kareem Daniel, the corporate’s head of media and entertainment, and right hand to now-departed CEO Bob Chapek.

Iger announced Daniel’s departure in a memo to employees of the division, together with a “latest structure that puts more decision-making back within the hands of our creative teams and rationalizes costs.”

“It will necessitate a reorganization of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution. In consequence, Kareem Daniel will likely be leaving the corporate,” Iger said within the memo, which was obtained by CNBC.

Iger said top Disney lieutenants, including Dana Walden, head of general entertainment, Alan Bergman, leader of Disney content studios, ESPN’s James Pitaro and CFO Christine McCarthy would work together on Disney’s latest structure “that puts more decision-making back within the hands of our creative teams and rationalizes costs.”

The choice marks the swift undoing of considered one of Chapek’s primary actions during his nearly three-year tenure as CEO. Chapek reorganized the corporate to ascertain the DMED division and consolidate budgetary power for Disney’s content and distribution divisions under Daniel. 

“Our goal is to have the brand new structure in place in the approaching months. Without query, elements of DMED will remain, but I fundamentally imagine that storytelling is what fuels this company, and it belongs at the middle of how we organize our businesses,” Iger said. “It is a moment of great change and opportunity for our company as we start our second century.”

Kareem Daniel

Source: Business Wire

Daniel has close connections with Chapek, who hired Daniel as an intern when he was working on getting his MBA at Stanford.

The 2 had worked closely together when Chapek was head of the parks, experiences and consumer products group, and Daniel was head of the Imagineering program, Disney’s theme park designers.

Daniel had worked across several of Disney’s divisions during his tenure. He was vp of distribution strategy at Walt Disney Studios when Disney closed its acquisition to purchase Marvel Studios for around $4 billion in 2009. He was also a part of the team that purchased Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.05 billion.

Marvel and Star Wars would turn out to be key pieces to Disney’s strategy, especially in streaming, in recent times.

Daniel, who was at Disney for greater than a decade, rose to his latest perch as head of media and entertainment, when Chapek reorganized Disney in 2020 and the now-former CEO quickly surrounded himself with parks staff and accelerated the corporate’s push into streaming.

In his latest role, Daniel oversaw all of Disney’s streaming services, namely Disney+, in addition to domestic television networks and studios.

Shares of Disney rose greater than 6% Monday, the day after Disney announced the chief shift.

Read Iger’s memo:

Dear DMED Employees,

As we embark on the transformative work that I discussed to you in my email last night, I need to start by offering my sincere appreciation and gratitude to every considered one of you.

Over the approaching weeks, we are going to begin implementing organizational and operating changes throughout the company. It’s my intention to restructure things in a way that honors and respects creativity as the center and soul of who we’re. As you already know, it is a time of enormous change and challenges in our industry, and our work may also deal with making a more efficient and cost-effective structure.

I’ve asked Dana Walden, Alan Bergman, Jimmy Pitaro, and Christine McCarthy to work together on the design of a latest structure that puts more decision-making back within the hands of our creative teams and rationalizes costs, and this can necessitate a reorganization of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution. In consequence, Kareem Daniel will likely be leaving the corporate, and I hope you’ll all join me in thanking him for his a few years of service to Disney. 

Our goal is to have the brand new structure in place in the approaching months. Without query, elements of DMED will remain, but I fundamentally imagine that storytelling is what fuels this company, and it belongs at the middle of how we organize our businesses. 

It is a moment of great change and opportunity for our company as we start our second century, and I’m so proud to be leading this team again. I can not say it enough: I’m incredibly grateful for the tremendous work you do every day, and to your commitment to maintaining the extent of excellence Disney has all the time been known for.

I do know change could be unsettling, but it’s also vital and even energizing, and so I ask to your patience as we develop a roadmap for this restructuring. More information will likely be shared over the approaching weeks. Until a latest structure is put in place, we are going to proceed to operate under our existing structure. Within the meantime, I hope you all have a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday, and thanks again for all you do.

Bob

Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect that Bob Chapek was CEO of Disney for nearly three years. An earlier version misstated his tenure.

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