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Friday, March 6, 2020

Mayer Reportedly Staying at Disney

by Ray Keating
March 6, 2020

When Bob Chapek was named Disney CEO, we wondered about Kevin Mayer, who also had been mentioned for the job, especially given his gig as chairman of direct-to-consumer and international division, which includes Disney+.

We wrote: “One question to be answered relates to Kevin Mayer: Will he stay or leave in coming months given that Chapek got the CEO spot?”

Los Angeles Times report today seems to provide an answer. The Times noted:

Disney insiders and people who know Mayer said it is unlikely he will depart, given the high-profile nature of his current job. For a media executive, there aren’t many positions in entertainment, media or tech that are more interesting than that of leading Disney’s charge into subscription video. And Mayer, 57, could be in a good position to eventually succeed Chapek.

Regarding Mayer’s role and relationship with Chapek, the Times highlighted to the following key points:

• “Some of the biggest hurdles for Disney fall to Mayer, who must work closely with Iger and Chapek to grow Disney+ by increasing programming and expanding globally. Mayer is also tasked with growing Hulu, which has been under Disney control since last year. Hulu is a key part of Disney’s streaming strategy, as the new home of programming from FX Networks. The service also must pursue its long-awaited international expansion.”

• “People close to Mayer and Chapek said the executives get along well. Both are longtime Disney insiders and exacting bosses who have touched multiple parts of Disney’s empire. The interconnected nature of Disney’s numerous businesses — theme parks, cruise ships, Broadway plays, movies and TV shows, toys and so on — requires division heads to collaborate more frequently than at more siloed rival companies.”

• “Mayer oversaw the blockbuster acquisitions that made Disney the dominant force it is today, including Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Entertainment, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox Inc. One key deal was Disney’s takeover of technology company BAMTech, which provided the backbone of Disney’s streaming services. Less successful were the acquisitions of YouTube creator network Maker Studios and online game maker Club Penguin.”

It's clear that Mayer still very much matters to Disney, and as reported, the company wants him focused on streaming, which Iger has identified as key to the future of Disney. Disney investors should be pleased.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of The Disney Planner 2020: The TO DO List Solution and the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

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