Disney's CFO and parks chief switch roles

AP News
Posted: Nov 12, 2009 2:33 PM

After recasting executives at its faltering movie studio, The Walt Disney Co. is now switching up the roles of a couple of its high achievers.

CEO Robert Iger said Thursday that Chief Financial Officer Tom Staggs, 49, will become chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Jay Rasulo, 53, the current parks chairman, will assume the part of chief financial officer. The changes will take place at the end of the year.

Iger, 58, called both executives "dynamic and versatile" and said change was good for them and the company. Both men have 20 years or more of experience at Disney.

Staggs worked closely with Iger on some of Disney's largest acquisitions, including the purchase of Capital Cities/ABC Inc. in 1996 for $20 billion, Pixar Animation Studios Inc. for $7.4 billion in 2006 and the pending $4 billion buyout of Marvel Entertainment Inc.

Rasulo has been behind a $1 billion expansion of Disney's California Adventure theme park in Anaheim, Calif., the construction of two new cruise ships, a Disney resort in Hawaii and led negotiations that resulted in China's approval of a Disney theme park in Shanghai estimated to cost $3.5 billion.

He also helped turn around Disneyland Resort Paris, which struggled after opening as Euro Disney in 1992.

The company reports its fourth-quarter earnings later Thursday, with weakness at the movie studio expected to pull down earnings compared with a year ago.

Disney recently overhauled executives and operations at the studio, which has seen five straight quarters of declining revenue and is expected to take a write-down on "A Christmas Carol," which had a disappointing opening last weekend despite a huge marketing campaign.