Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s Inner Circle Executives



  • Disney CEO Bob Chapek is trying to restructure the company for the streaming age.
  • He also deals with issues related to work, talent and the pandemic.
  • Here are the advisors he relies on the most to meet these challenges.

Disney chief executive Bob Chapek is trying to radically restructure the 97-year-old company for the streaming age while battling on multiple fronts.

The insider spoke to senior insiders and those who work closely with the company to identify the leaders Chapek trusts and has the most contact with.

While his predecessor Bob Iger has extended a hand widely across the company to inform his thinking – Iger also counted as an assistant personal trainer, Jim Citrin of Spencer Stuart, Chapek is described as more of a command and control cadre. .

Chapek’s two closest advisers are Kareem Daniel, president of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution; and park chief Josh D’Amaro. They form, with the financial director Christine McCarthy, the axis of power in Burbank.

The list is non-exhaustive; for example, that doesn’t include HR director Paul Richardson, who is also on Chapek’s speed dial, given the huge turnover in management ahead of Iger’s departure at the end of the year, according to a senior manager of the company. But that includes the executives whose names come up most often as those on whom Chapek relies the most to solve the challenges Disney faces as it exits the coronavirus pandemic.

A Disney spokesperson declined to comment.

kareem daniel disney

Karim daniel

Business thread

Kareem Daniel, President, Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution

Daniel has been with Chapek since Chapek hired him as an intern over a decade ago, and with overseeing Disney’s distribution and monetization strategy, the Stanford graduate and MBA has become one of the most powerful people in Hollywood.

Daniel isn’t a well-known figure, but his huge stronghold – he effectively handles all revenue – became clearer when he announced that all of Disney’s remaining 2021 films would first open in theaters after the controversial simultaneous release experience that sparked a legal battle with actress Scarlett Johansson.

“Kareem was his problem solver; he developed a reputation for digging in and solving problems, ”said a business executive who has worked with the company and is familiar with Daniel’s relationship with Chapek.

Josh D'Amaro President of Disney Parks, Consumer Products

Josh D’Amaro


Josh D’Amaro, President, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products

Wall Street is betting that Disney’s parks division will show strong growth as pandemic restrictions are lifted and attendance rebounds, so the pressure is on to maintain revenue.

That post goes to Josh D’Amaro, who succeeded Chapek in the division and is seen as close to the CEO. The two are working to modernize parks around the world and replace stand-alone Disney retail stores with units at Target. Also in the works for D’Amaro’s consumer products unit, McDonalds is making a Happy Meal to celebrate the anniversary of Disney World.

But with the pandemic in its second year, renewing the parks is a work in progress. Price increases have not abated well with park visitors, workers’ vaccination warrants have sparked protests, and Disneyland workers allege in a lawsuit they were underpaid.

Christine McCarthy, Chief Financial Officer

As Disney’s CFO, McCarthy needs to be on top of all important business decisions. Senior executives said McCarthy was close to Iger but appeared to be acting as a bridge to the new leadership; McCarthy was originally scheduled to leave in June, but remains until the end of 2022 due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, his counterpart Lowell Singer, please, investor relations, recently said he was leaving after 14 years for a fintech company.

Kevin feige

Kevin feige

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Film directors Kevin Feige and Pete Docter

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and Pixar Creative Director Pete Docter produce content that brings in billions of dollars to the company’s distribution businesses around the world, and the film’s two bosses are a part of it. confidants of Chapek, said two people familiar with his thinking.

The director of “Soul” and “Inside Out,” Docter was instrumental in the change in leadership of Pixar following the departure of his predecessor John Lasseter. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Docter has ushered in a more diverse pipeline of films, as well as new classic hits.

Some people in the movie world have questioned whether the trial of Johansson, which shone the spotlight on Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige; and the release of Disney’s “Black Widow” on Disney + at the same time as it was making its theatrical debut strained Chapek’s relationship with the film’s executives. But Chapek approved the decision to restore the remainder of the 2021 schedule to an indoor opening schedule.

ESPN Jimmy Pitaro

Jimmy Pitaro.

Disney Interactive / Reuters / Jonathan Alcorn

Jimmy Pitaro, President, ESPN and Sports Content

Pitaro is the sports supremo inside Disney, as the sport not only stimulates the ESPN cash cow, but is also essential in strengthening the company’s streaming offering. He is considered a team player who works across the Disney Empire for new income ideas as a kid-themed NFL game concept, according to Front Office Sports, and as such, trusted by Chapek.

“Jimmy was very close to Bob Iger. Jimmy decided his job was to improve relationships with all groups,” said the sales manager close to the company. “He’s politically astute.”

Justin Connolly, President, Platform Distribution Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution

Inside Disney, Connolly is considered one of the few members of the company to have Chapek’s ear. Connolly is little known outside of the distribution industry, but as an executive overseeing Disney’s content sales agreements and distribution strategy and affiliate marketing operations for direct-to-consumer services and retailers. traditional media networks, his negotiating skills will be crucial for Chapek in the years to come. month. Connolly’s next test will be to manage renewal talks with Comcast for Disney cable channels, in addition to finding new ways to earn subscribers for Disney’s streaming package.


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