The surprise announcement sees the former Participant Media president replace the outgoing M T Carney.

“I am happy to welcome Ricky Strauss to The Walt Disney Studios family,” Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross said on Friday (13). “With 25 years of industry experience, he brings a deep understanding of all aspects of the film business as well as incredible skill in branding and cutting-edge marketing.

“He will undoubtedly raise the studios’ creative bar as we enter 2012 and look ahead at showcasing a spectacular slate of films to audiences around the world.”

“The future of Disney movies is as exciting as the legacy, and I’m honoured to have the opportunity to be a part of that. Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and DreamWorks Studios are among the world’s best and brightest brands,” Strauss said.

“My experience at Participant has been incredible and I’m so proud of my colleagues and everything we accomplished. I look forward now to getting to work with the exceptional team at Disney, doing some of the most innovative marketing in the industry.”

Strauss most recently oversaw Participant Media’s marketing, production and acquisition activities and scored a notable hit with awards contender The Help.

Prior to joining Participant in 2005, Strauss founded Sony-based Ricochet Entertainment and before that spent 16 years at Sony, where he served as a senior marketing executive at Columbia/TriStar Pictures) and later as senior vp of production.