This week, the Walt Disney Company announced major changes to its organization in anticipation of a swath of new assets incoming from 21st Century Fox. Though the $52.4 billion acquisition is waiting for government approval, Disney is restructuring to take full advantage of the addition.
Disney created a new division, the “Direct-to-Consumer and International,” with former chief strategy officer, Kevin Mayer, stepping in to lead. The department will oversee global advertising sales to major TV companies while also developing a portfolio of new subscription-based streaming services. Disney is angling to compete with streaming giants like Netflix, and the rollout of this new service is expected later this spring and will center around Pixar, LucasFilms, and original Disney content. A major part of the Fox acquisition is the integration of Hulu, which will handle older Disney and ABC content.
Former chairman of Disney theme parks, Robert Chapek, is being elevated to head another new division: “Parks, Experiences, and Consumer Products.” Chapek will handle merchandising, video games, and the Disney Store.
Chief Executive Robert A. Iger will stay at the helm as per parts of the deal struck with Rupert Murdoch, current owner of 21st Century Fox. Observers see the elevation of Chapek and Mayer as signs of potential successors once Iger’s current contract is up. For its part, Disney advised not to jump to conclusions.