He replaces Tom Staggs, who was recently named chief operating officer of the Walt Disney Co. and is likely to replace Disney chief Bob Iger when he retires in 2018.
Chapek, who starts in his new role immediately and reports to both Iger and Staggs, has worked for Disney for 22 years. He has served as president of Disney Consumer Products since 2011.
With the parks and resorts business, he’s taking oversight of a division that generated $15 billion in sales during Disney’s fiscal 2014 year, which wrapped in September, and includes 11 theme parks around the world, four cruise ships and a resort in Hawaii. A 12th park is being built in Shanghai.
Disney’s consumer products arm generated $3.98 billion in fiscal 2014, and manages not only the company’s licensed merchandise programs but also the company’s Disney Stores.
“Bob is stepping into this role at an incredibly dynamic and exciting time for our Parks and Resorts business,” Staggs said. “The ongoing construction of Shanghai Disney Resort as well as the new ‘Avatar’-themed land at Walt Disney World continues an era of unprecedented growth and historic expansion.”
Chapek’s appointment had been expected since Iger named Staggs COO earlier this month. Chapek’s successor to run consumer products will be named at a later date, Disney said.
A number of names have been discussed internally, including James Pitaro, who currently runs Disney Interactive. Iger and Staggs must also determine who becomes Disney’s CFO since Jay Rasulo’s contract has not yet been renewed. Kevin Mayer, who has served as executive VP of corporate strategy and business development since 2005, is said to be first in line for the CFO post.
“Under Bob’s leadership, Consumer Products has seen great success, focusing on brands and a franchise-driven strategy while launching new products and retail experiences that combine technological innovation and creativity,” Iger said. “He is an experienced and versatile executive well suited to lead Parks and Resorts into the future.”
Before running consumer products, Chapek was president of distribution for the Walt Disney Studios from 2009-11, overseeing the studio’s overall content distribution strategy across multiple platforms. That included all forms of home entertainment, pay TV, digital entertainment and new media.
He was president of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment before that.
“I am grateful for the many opportunities I have had during my years at Disney, and am thrilled to join the incredible Disney Parks organization,” Chapek said. “I look forward to working with the remarkably talented team dedicated to creating magical memories for millions of guests around the world.”
The news of Chapek’s new role comes as Disney announced increased ticket prices at its Magic Kingdom park in Orlando. A single day pass will now cost $105, up from $99. Tickets at Disneyland for guests ages 10 and up, are now $99, up from $96.