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, less than 24 hours after returning to the helm DisneyHe informed employees on Monday that the company would be restructured in the coming weeks.
One of the first moves, Iger announced, would be the departure of Kareem Daniel, the company’s head of media and entertainment, and right-hand man to the now-deceased CEO Bob Chapek.
Iger announced Daniel’s departure in a memo to department staff, along with a “new structure that puts more decision-making in the hands of our creative teams and streamlines costs.”
“This will require a reorganization of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution. As a result, Kareem Daniel will leave the company,” Iger said in the memo provided to CNBC.
Iger said top Disney lieutenants, including Dana Walden, head of general entertainment, Alan Bergman, head of Disney content studios, ESPN’s James Pitaro and CFO Christine McCarthy, would be working together on Disney’s new structure, “which more… Putting decision making back in the hands of Disney puts our creative teams and streamlines costs.”
The decision marks the quick end of one of Chapek’s most important actions during his nearly three-year tenure as CEO. Chapek reorganized the company to form the DMED division and consolidate budgetary authority for Disney’s content and distribution divisions under Daniel.
“Our goal is to set up the new structure in the coming months. There is no question that elements of DMED will remain, but I believe fundamentally that storytelling is what drives this company and that it belongs at the heart of our corporate organization,” said Iger. “This is a moment of great change and opportunity for our company as we begin our second century.”
Daniel has close ties with Chapek, who hired Daniel as an intern while he was working toward his MBA at Stanford.
The two had worked closely together when Chapek was leader of the parks, experiences and consumer products group and Daniel was leader of the Imagineering program, Disney’s theme park designer.
Daniel had worked in several Disney divisions during his tenure. He was vice president of distribution strategy at Walt Disney Studios when Disney completed its 2009 acquisition to purchase Marvel Studios for approximately $4 billion. He was also part of the team that bought Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in 2012.
Marvel and Star Wars have become key elements of Disney’s strategy in recent years, particularly in streaming.
Daniel, who was at Disney for more than a decade, rose to his last post as head of media and entertainment as Chapek reorganized Disney in 2020 and the now-former CEO was quick to surround himself with park employees and the company’s push into streaming accelerated.
In his most recent role, Daniel oversaw all of Disney’s streaming services, most notably Disney+, as well as domestic television stations and studios.
Disney’s shares rose more than 6% on Monday, a day after Disney announced the senior management change.
Read Iger’s memo:
Dear DMED employees,
As we begin the transformative work that I mentioned to you in my email last night, I would like to begin by expressing my sincere appreciation and gratitude to each and every one of you.
In the coming weeks we will start to implement organizational and operational changes in the company. It is my intention to restructure things in a way that values and respects creativity as the heart and soul of who we are. As you know, this is a time of tremendous changes and challenges in our industry and our work will also focus on creating a more efficient and cost-effective structure.
I’ve asked Dana Walden, Alan Bergman, Jimmy Pitaro and Christine McCarthy to work together to design a new structure that puts more decisions in the hands of our creative teams and streamlines costs, and this will require a reorganization of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution. As a result, Kareem Daniel will be leaving the company and I hope you all will join me in thanking him for his years of service to Disney.
Our goal is to implement the new structure in the coming months. There is no question that elements of DMED will remain, but I fundamentally believe that storytelling is what drives this company and that it belongs at the core of our organization.
This is a moment of great change and opportunity for our company as we enter our second century and I am so proud to once again lead this team. I can’t say it enough: I am incredibly grateful for the tremendous work you do every day and for your commitment to upholding the level of excellence Disney has always been known for.
I know that change can be unsettling, but it is also necessary and even stimulating, so I ask for your patience while we develop a roadmap for this restructuring. More information will be shared in the coming weeks. Until a new structure is in place, we will continue to operate under our existing structure. In the meantime, I wish you all Happy Thanksgiving Holidays and thank you again for all you are doing.
Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect that Bob Chapek was CEO of Disney for almost three years. A previous version misrepresented his tenure.