After a ruthless first wave of senior Fox executive redundancies on Thursday (March 21), Walt Disney Studios released a sanitised announcement detailing its senior leadership team following the acquisition of the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox earlier this week.
Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn sent a note to the circa 3,000 Fox staff on Thursday telling them to expect ”quite a bit of change” before news of the first Fox senior executive lay-offs leaked out. Among Thursday’s more dramatic headlines, Fox International theatrical distribution president Andrew Cripps and Fox domestic distribution president Chris Aronson are exiting, and Fox 2000 will be closed after the current cycle of films are released.
21st Century Fox’s film studios – including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Family, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000, and Blue Sky Studios – are joining Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney (live action), Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Disney Music Group, and Disney Theatrical Group under The Walt Disney Studios umbrella, and the leadership of Horn, working closely with studio president Alan Bergman.
Disney’s production studios will create content for both theatrical release and streaming platform Disney+, set to launch towards the end of this year. Films from the various Fox studios will continue to be released under their existing labels. Fox Family will move under the purview of Twentieth Century Fox, and as reported earlier on Thursday, Fox 2000 will cease production after the release of its current slate. It is unclear what will happen to Fox 2000 president of production Elizabeth Gabler after that.
Reporting to Disney film chief Horn are:
Previously announced Twentieth Century Fox chief, vice-chairman of Twentieth Century Fox Film, and president of production at Twentieth Century Fox, Emma Watts.
Reporting to Watts will be Fox Family president Vanessa Morrison. Fox Searchlight Pictures will continue to be led by chairmen Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula. Fox Animation including Blue Sky Studios will continue to be led by co-presidents Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird.
Walt Disney Animation Studios will continue to be led by chief creative officer Jennifer Lee.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture production (Disney live action) will continue to be led by president Sean Bailey.
Pixar Animation Studios will continue to be led by chief creative officer Pete Docter.
Marvel Studios will continue to be led by president Kevin Feige and co-president Louis D’Esposito.
Lucasfilm will continue to be led by president Kathleen Kennedy.
Disney Music Group will continue to be led by president Ken Bunt.
Disney theatrical group will continue to be led by president and producer Thomas Schumacher.
Walt Disney Studios communications will be led by senior vice-president Paul Roeder. Walt Disney Studios human resources will be led by senior vice-president Carolyn Wilson.
The Walt Disney Studios’ marketing, distribution, operations, business affairs, legal affairs, finance, technology, and labour relations teams will continue to report to Walt Disney Studios president Alan Bergman.
Walt Disney Studios marketing will be led by president Asad Ayaz.
Walt Disney Studios distribution, franchise management, and business & audience insights will be led by president Cathleen Taff.
Walt Disney Studios operations will be led by president Jeff Miller.
Walt Disney Studios business affairs will be led by executive vice-president Bernardine Brandis. Steve Bardwil will lead Walt Disney Studios legal affairs as chief counsel. Paul Shurgot will lead Walt Disney Studios finance as executive vice-president and CFO. Jamie Voris will lead Walt Disney Studios technology as senior vice president and chief technology officer. Walt Disney Studios labour relations will be led by senior vice-president Robert Johnson.
Also continuing to report to Bergman are Walt Disney Animation Studios president Andrew Millstein and Pixar Animation Studios president Jim Morris.
“At the core of The Walt Disney Studios is the world-class content we produce – from unforgettable experiences for the screen and stage, to stories and characters that find their way into the hearts and homes of fans everywhere,” said Horn. “Bringing together the legacies, talent, and capabilities of Disney and Fox greatly expands our ability to create a wide range of transportive storytelling experiences for audiences the world over, and we are thrilled to get to work together.”