Dana Walden vs. Alan Bergman: Who Gets What at New Disney?

The new Disney Entertainment co-chairmen are each taking on a lot as Bob Iger returns power to creatives.
Josh D'Amaro Dana Walden Alan Bergman James Pitaro Disney
From left, Disney execs Josh D'Amaro, Dana Walden, Alan Bergman, and James Pitaro
Disney/Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney/Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images

The Walt Disney Company has outlined the specific details of Bob Iger’s re-organization that will give power and accountability back to creatives at the company, but will also result in the loss of 7,000 jobs and hopefully pave the way to $5.5 billion in cost-saving synergies.

Effective immediately, and as reported during Wednesday’s Q1 earnings, Disney is now broken up into three branches: Disney Entertainment, ESPN, and Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Each of the segment leaders will have full operational control and financial responsibility for creative development, marketing, technology, sales, and distribution, and will be accountable for driving business.

The big change is to Disney Entertainment, the banner that now includes all of Disney’s entertainment media and streaming, specifically Disney+ and Hulu. It also better integrates the global and international teams of Disney under one roof. Alan Bergman and Dana Walden are co-chairs of this new banner. Bergman comes with a film spin and Walden from TV, which is generally still their breakdown. Anything they individually oversaw before this shakeup stays as it was; here’s where each of the dominos of Disney’s brands now fall.

Bergman has primary oversight of Disney Live Action, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, and Searchlight Pictures, as well as Disney Music Group and Disney Theatrical Group.

Walden has ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Owned Televisions Stations, Disney Branded Television, Disney Television Studios, Freeform, FX, Hulu Originals, National Geographic Content, and Onyx Collective.

Jimmy Pitaro will continue to lead ESPN’s eight linear networks and ESPN+; he’ll be in charge of Disney’s full portfolio of sports content, products, and experiences. Josh D’Amaro will continue to have oversight of Parks, Experiences, and Products, which also includes Disney’s cruise lines, games, and publishing divisions.

This restructure effectively dismantles the old branch of DMED (Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution), which was put in place by Iger’s predecessor Bob Chapek. A large chunk of the 7,000 layoffs will come from that group and from the company’s marketing teams. But many team members from DMED and International Content and Operations (IC&O) will now be part of other teams shared by both Disney Entertainment and ESPN. These include Product and Technology, led by Aaron LaBerge; Advertising Sales, led by Rita Ferro; and Platform Distribution, led by Justin Connolly (excluding Theatrical Distribution and Music, which will be overseen by Bergman). Michael Paull continues to oversee Disney+ and Hulu, reporting into Bergman and Walden.

Outside of North America, the company’s media, entertainment, and sports content and operations will continue to be managed regionally by Luke Kang, the president of Asia Pacific; Jan Koeppen, the president of EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; Diego Lerner, the president LATAM (Latin America); and K Madhavan, the president of India. These leaders will report to Bergman, Walden, and Pitaro as part of their global responsibilities.

As a result of the changes, Rebecca Campbell, the chairman of International Content and Operations, is exiting Disney. She’ll stay on through June.

The organizational changes will be implemented immediately, and the company will begin reporting financial results under the new business structure by the end of the fiscal year.

“For nearly 100 years, storytelling and creativity have fueled The Walt Disney Company, with virtually every interaction we have with our consumers emanating from something creative,” Iger said in a press release. “I am committed to positioning this company for a new era of growth. Our strategic restructuring will return creativity to the center of the company, increase accountability, improve results, and ensure the quality of our content and experiences.”

He continued: “Every day, I am reminded of what incredible talent we have leading the many facets of this company…Thanks to my management team and our exceptional business leaders, who have acted quickly and strategically on the important changes we are undertaking today, I am as encouraged as ever by what the future holds for The Walt Disney Company.”

Bergman was previously chairman of Disney Studios Content, responsible for the Studios division, including Disney Theatrical Productions. Walden was previously chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content, overseeing original entertainment and news programming for Disney’s streaming platforms, broadcast and cable networks, in addition to Disney Televisions Studios and Onyx Collective.

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