Disney tapping two for strategy unit

Mayer, Yudkovitz to head new group

NEW YO RK — Walt Disney has tapped Internet exec and consultant Kevin Mayer, along with TiVo and NBC alum Marty Yudkovitz, to head a new Corporate Strategy, Business Development and Technology Group.

Move comes about three months after Disney CEO-in-waiting Bob Iger basically disbanded the company’s internally unpopular strategic planning operation and ejected its head, Peter Murphy, who is now an adviser to Iger.

Mouse House stressed that the new group will work closely with the conglom’s business units, “where many planning responsibilities will now reside.”

“The company is taking a more nimble approach to strategic and business development at the divisional level and providing greater authority, responsibility and accountability for our business executives,” said chief financial officer Tom Staggs, who will oversee the new unit.

The group “will play a pivotal role in detecting and analyzing key trends impacting our markets as well as evaluating high-potential new business opportunities,” Staggs said.

Mayer, the former CEO of Clear Channel Interactive and Playboy.com, worked as exec VP of the Walt Disney Internet Group in the mid-1990s. He was most recently head of the global media and entertainment practice at L.E.K. Consulting. He rejoins the Mouse as exec VP of the new unit reporting to Staggs.

Yudkovitz, who worked in NBC business affairs for 20 years and was most recently president of TiVo, was named senior VP for corporate strategy and biz development, reporting to Mayer.

Yudkovitz ankled TiVo in February after less than two years at the DVR pioneer. He had been charged with forging distribution deals with cable and satellite companies and generating new revenue from advertisers.

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