Exec to o'see foreign TV, homevid, theme parks
Andy Bird, until recently Time Warner’s most senior TV exec in London, soon will land at the Mouse House with a new gig.Bird be named prexy of Walt Disney Intl., succeeding Michael Johnson. He’ll be responsible for foreign TV, homevideo, theme parks, foreign channels, consumer products and even theatrical distribution. Johnson ankled TW in April to become CEO at Herbalife. He had been in the international role for three years, a uniquely crafted position that doesn’t have a direct counterpart at other studios. The chain of command on the international side at Disney resembles a complex web of solid and dotted lines. It’s unclear what changes will be made to the reporting structure or to the precise job description under Bird. The job under Johnson tilted toward business development in non-mature markets like India and China as well as oversight of back-office opera-tions. His forte in his 17 years at the company was homevideo, whose expansion abroad he spearheaded. Bird, meanwhile, has played a key role in building Turner’s foreign channel biz in Asia, Europe and Latin America over the last nine years. He re-cently was replaced in London by Louise Sams, the Turner unit’s exec VP and general counsel. Bird began his career in British cable TV as a producer and subsequently head of news for Music Box, the Virgin-owned music station. He joined Turner as senior VP of Cartoon Network/TNT in 1994 and in 1999 was appointed prexy of Entertainment Networks for Europe, Africa and Middle East.