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Disney Leadership Undergoes Major Structural Changes in the Wake of Al Weiss Departure

7 July 2011 No Comment

As he previously hinted, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs is taking the opportunity that Al Weiss’ retirement created to shake up the leadership at Disney Parks and Resorts.

When Weiss announced his retirement last month as the president of worldwide operations for Disney Parks and Resorts, Staggs stated that a new operation structure would be created in the next few weeks.  Now, we are starting to see what changes are coming, vis a vis the new structure.

Earlier this week, Walt Disney World president Meg Crofton was promoted by Staggs to the new position of president of operations in the U.S. and France.  In addition to maintaining her current responsibilities as the president of Florida’s Disney resort, Crofton will add oversight of operations at Disneyland Resort in California, as well as Disneyland Paris, to her responsiblities.  Says Staggs in an internal memo:

Meg’s strong leadership abilities and broad experience make her the perfect person to lead resort operations in our established markets in the United States and Europe.

In addition, Staggs tasked Disney Cruise Line president Karl Holz with responsiblity over Disney Vacation Club and Adventures by Disney, in addition to maintaining responsibility for day to day operations of the cruise line business. 

Both Crofton and Holz, who previously reported to Weiss, will now report directly to Skaggs.  Weiss’ position has officially been eliminated, and Disneyland president George Kalogridis and Disneyland Paris president Phillippe Gas will both report to Crofton.  DVC president Jim Lewis will fall under Holz’ leadership.  These areas of business have recently been considered to be great growth engines for the company.  Again, Staggs stated regarding Holz:

Karl will be responsible for creating consistent and engaging guest experiences as they expand to new markets and destinations outside the berms of our theme parks.  These operations are an important driver of growth in our segment and a critical part of our efforts to build upon and broaden Disney’s reputation for delivering magical experiences to our guests, both inside and outside the berm.

The move to create a simpler hierarchy is another step in the company’s “One Disney” approach.  According to Staggs, the move is designed to ”to continue the great work of sharing best practices and leveraging our operational expertise across our properties.”

The restructure also merged sales and marketing under one umbrella, as Leslie Ferraro, who previously held the post of senior vice president of global marketing, has now been named executive vice president of global marketing and sales. 

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