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Hulu hired Tim Connolly, who has run The Walt Disney Co.’s digital distribution initiatives for TV, to be head of distribution — as CEO Mike Hopkins returns to one of the joint venture’s parent companies for talent.

Connolly most recently was VP of digital video distribution and new product development for Disney and ESPN Media Networks. In that role, he led the company’s digital distribution efforts spanning TV properties including ESPN, ABC Family, ABC and Disney Channel, including the group’s TV Everywhere and video-on-demand strategies.

Disney is one of Hulu’s owners, along with Comcast’s NBCUniversal and 21st Century Fox.

For Hopkins, the former Fox Networks distribution chief who took over the top job at Hulu in October, a top priority has been establishing a senior management team. Hulu’s executive ranks were decimated over the course of 2013 amid uncertainty about its future, as the parent companies solicited bids for the JV before deciding to retain their ownership stakes.

“Finding ways to penetrate new distribution channels is key to our future growth,” Hopkins wrote in announcing Connolly’s hire. “Tim’s wealth of experience and passion for Hulu will be instrumental as we continue to grow our subscriber base and roll out Hulu Plus across even more devices and with more distribution partners.”

Hopkins’ other recent hires include: senior VP of ad sales Peter Naylor, who hails from NBCU; chief technology officer Tian Lim, formerly with Sony Entertainment Network; and CFO Elaine Paul, previously Disney’s head of strategy and business development.

Prior to Disney, Connolly spent seven years at Ericsson, working in various roles ranging from product management to business development.

Separately, Hulu last week announced it will sell its Hulu Japan subscription VOD service to broadcaster Nippon TV.