New int'l topper will lead foreign growth
This article was updated at 7:28 p.m.HOLLYWOOD — Andy Bird is joining the Walt Disney Co. as president, Walt Disney Intl.,(Daily Variety, Nov. 18) and will be based in Burbank, effective Jan. 12. The appointment was unveiled Wednesday by Michael Eisner, Disney chairman and chief executive officer, and Robert Iger, Disney president and chief operating officer. Bird will report to Iger and to Eisner. He replaces Michael Johnson, who ankled last April to join Herbalife. Bird, who is British, was most recently president of Time Warner’s TBS Intl., based in London. “From a strategic perspective, one of Disney’s most significant long-term growth opportunities resides in markets outside of the United States, and it is crucial that the company continue to have a well-coordinated approach to business development around the world,” Eisner said. “Andy brings a diverse portfolio of skills and experiences that, coupled with the strength of Disney’s existing international team, will allow us to capitalize on the business development and further growth opportunities in markets around the world,” Iger added. Foreign growth Working in conjunction with business unit leaders around the world, Bird will be responsible for coordinating and overseeing growth opportunities for Disney outside the U.S., and for targeting new businesses, especially in emerging markets. Most recently, Bird was leading a new initiative for Time Warner in the wireless arena, an area in which Disney has seen strong growth internationally, especially in Asia. Bird started his career with Piccadilly Radio in Manchester, England, as breakfast show producer and later worked for Virgin Broadcasting.