Disney international TV prexy David Hulbert has ankled in a shake-up of its senior team. Promotions for John Hardie and Tom Toumazis suggest that the power axis in the division is shifting to Mouse House headquarters Stateside.
All the other Hollywood majors base their top international TV execs in Los Angeles; the Mouse House has for 20 years allowed the top job to be handled out of London.
Move signals that more decisionmaking on the complex foreign front will come from the two execs who oversaw Hulbert’s activities from Burbank — Anne Sweeney, who masterminds the foreign channels, and Laurie Younger, who oversees program distribution.
Disney continues to have a more layered — some say complicated — management structure on the international TV side than its counterparts.
Hulbert, a Brit who had headed the studio’s London HQ for the past decade, leaves without a job to go to.
In a statement from Disney he said: “I shall be taking a short well-earned rest, and will then start looking for entrepreneurial opportunities in the media and software sectors.”
Hulbert will not be directly replaced. Instead the top job in London has gone to ex-ITV exec Hardie. He takes over as exec VP-managing director for branded television, European, Middle Eastern and Africanterritories.
Marketing maven Hardie, who has been with the company just three years, will report directly to Rich Ross, president, Disney Channel Worldwide.
Ross said: “John’s recent efforts spearheading the creation of ABC1 in the U.K. typify his unique abilities.”
Sweeney, co-chairman, media networks of the Walt Disney Co., and president of the Disney-ABC TV Group, said: “This reorganization is simply the next step in our ongoing efforts to increase effectiveness and streamline communications among our TV properties in these important territories.”
Toumazis, former senior VP-managing director, Buena Vista Intl. Television, EMEA, is now exec VP-managing director of the same division.
Hulbert’s position at Disney has been the subject of speculation in London in recent months. His departure follows by five months the exit of Paramount’s top international TV exec Gary Marenzi and the promotion of CBS Intl.’s top exec Armando Nunez to oversee all of Viacom’s international TV business (except for MTV Networks Intl).