Rich Ross Resigns as President of Walt Disney Studios
A major shakeup occurred at the Walt Disney Studios yesterday, as studio president Rich Ross announced his resignation. Formerly the president of Disney Channels Worldwide, Ross was reportedly pressured to resign following the financial disappointment of John Carter, which cost the studio $200 million in losses.
Ross took the position of studio president two and a half years ago, when Disney CEO Bob Iger dismissed former studio head Dick Cook and replaced him with Ross, a controversial decision due to Ross’ lack of feature film experience. As the president of Walt Disney Studios, Ross was criticized for his spotty track record, which included such major flops for the studio as Prom, Mars Needs Moms, and John Carter.
In a letter sent to inform staff of his departure, Ross wrote:
I’ve always said our success is created and driven by our people — whom I consider to be the absolute best in the business. But, the best people need to be in the right jobs, in roles they are passionate about, doing work that leverages the full range of their abilities. It’s one of the leadership lessons I’ve learned during my career, and it’s something I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to as I look at the challenges and opportunities ahead. I believe in this extraordinary Walt Disney Studios team, and I believe in our strong slate of films and our ability to make and market them better than anyone else. But, I no longer believe the Chairman role is the right professional fit for me.
Iger commented on Ross’ departure in a statement, saying:
Rich Ross’s creative instincts, business acumen and personal integrity have driven results in key businesses for Disney, redefining success in kids and family entertainment and launching franchises that generate value across our entire company. I appreciate his countless contributions throughout his entire career at Disney, and expect he will have tremendous success in whatever he chooses to do next.
No successor has yet been named for Ross, whose departure is effective immediately. Stay tuned for further developments on this huge news story.