Exec exits post as worldwide marketing topper

Rich Ross is starting to put his stamp on the Mouse House’s feature operations.

Mark Zoradi announced on Monday his resignation as president of worldwide marketing and distribution of the Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group, becoming the first senior executive to depart since Ross took the reins as chairman of Walt Disney Studios early last month (Daily Variety, Oct. 6).

Zoradi, who leaves immediately, had worked for the Mouse House for the past 29 years and was appointed by Dick Cook, who resigned as chairman of the studio in September.

Departure comes as the Mouse’s high-profile holiday pic “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” opened to a soft $31 million domestic this past weekend. But insiders said Zoradi’s exit was tied to Ross’ decision to tap his own senior ranks and was not related to the performance of the Jim Carrey starrer.

Zoradi’s replacement has yet to be chosen.

Executive shuffles are hardly unusual when a regime change takes place at a studio, and those in marketing and distribution positions are often the first to be replaced, especially when the studio’s film slate has been struggling at the box office. Ross, the former chairman of Disney Channels Worldwide, declined comment beyond a statement.

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