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Disney Channel taps Powell media veep

Concluding a long search, the Disney Channel has hired Shirley Powell as its new VP of media relations, adding another cog to its restructured executive team under prexy Anne Sweeney.

Powell had been public relations VP for the Cartoon Network for five years. At Disney she succeeds Cory O’Connor, whose VP post covering synergy programming and communications was eliminated last year when he ankled.

In her new position, Powell, who reports to Sweeney, will manage the channel’s publicity department, overseeing all PR activities for the network and supervising its efforts on behalf of the sales, marketing, programming and affiliate relations divisions.

The hope is that Powell will bring stability and leadership to an area of the Disney Channel that has long been mired in disarray. The channel has never really been able to establish an effective rapport with the media, which has stunted its publicity and marketing prospects.

“We are very excited about having Shirley Powell join the Disney Channel team,” Sweeney said. “She is ideally suited for the position because of her extensive cable background and knowledge of the kid and family programming arena.”

Before the Cartoon Network, Powell was manager of press relations in the early days of Nickelodeon Studios, where she was responsible for all PR activity for the studios and for the Nickelodeon originals produced out of Orlando, Fla.

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