Television

The Walt Disney Company names new organisational structure for media networks biz

It is subject to the closing of the deal with 21st Century Fox

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MUMBAI: The Walt Disney Company, as part of the integration planning for its pending acquisition of 21st Century Fox, today announced plans for a new organisational structure for its media networks segment, conditional upon closing of the deal. Under the new structure, several 21st Century Fox executives would assume leadership roles at the Disney business segment once the acquisition closes.

“The strength of 21st Century Fox’s first-class management talent has always been a compelling part of this opportunity for us,” said The Walt Disney Company chairman and chief executive officer Robert A Iger. “Upon completion of the acquisition, this new structure positions these proven leaders to help drive maximum value from a greatly enhanced portfolio of incredible brands and businesses.”

Peter Rice will become chairman, Walt Disney Television and co-chair, Disney Media Networks, reporting directly to Iger. The new organisation under Rice will include ABC Television Network, ABC Studios, the ABC Owned Television Stations Group, Disney Channels, Freeform, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Networks and FX Productions, Fox 21 Television Studios, and the National Geographic channels.

“I love making television and have been fortunate to work with incredibly talented executives and storytellers. Disney is the world’s preeminent creative company, and I look forward to working for Bob, and with his exceptional leadership team, to build on that amazing legacy. I also want to thank Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch for the privilege of working on such a wide array of movies and television, both entertainment and sports. It has been a wonderful thirty years,” Rice said.

Rice’s appointment will take effect upon completion of the acquisition. He is currently president of 21st Century Fox and chairman and chief executive officer of Fox Networks Group.

Reporting to Rice will be: Dana Walden, Chairman, Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment; John Landgraf, chairman of FX Networks and FX Productions; Gary E. Knell, chairman of National Geographic Partners; Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide and James Goldston, president, ABC News

Walden’s portfolio will include Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios, as well as ABC Entertainment, ABC Studios, Freeform and the ABC Owned Television Stations Group. She is currently chairman and chief executive officer of Fox Television Group.

Disney Media Networks co-chair Ben Sherwood and Disney|ABC Television Group President, will remain in his current role during the transition period until the acquisition closes.

“I want to personally thank Ben Sherwood for his years of service at ABC and Disney. Ben has been a valued colleague, and I deeply appreciate his many contributions and insights, as well as his professionalism and cooperation in this transition,” Iger said.

Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox has received formal approval from shareholders of both companies, and Disney and 21st Century Fox have entered into a consent decree with the US Department of Justice that allows the acquisition to proceed, while requiring the sale of the Fox Sports Regional Networks. The transaction is subject to a number of non-US merger and other regulatory reviews.

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