You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney Vet Sam Neswick Named Chief Strategy Officer for Participant Media (EXCLUSIVE)

Participant Media has named Sam Neswick to a newly created position as chief strategy officer, as the company continues to revamp itself and prepare for continued expansion after an executive office shakeup.

Neswick, who joined Participant last year as a senior VP for strategic planning, “will oversee the company’s strategy, investments, innovation and corporate development,” according to Monday’s announcement. He will also lead strategic partnerships for the company, which finances feature films, documentaries, the Pivot television channel and a digital news and information site, TakePart, company founder Jeff Skoll said.

The promotion of Neswick comes a little more than three weeks after Jim Berk exited under pressure as the company’s chief executive, after Skoll expressed frustration about the slow pace of expansion into foreign markets and the growth of the TV and digital operations. Participant has helped produce several acclaimed films, including “Lincoln,” “The Help,” “Syriana,” and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” while trying to advance Skoll’s mission of creating entertainment that inspires social change.

“Sam will continue to work closely with me and the senior team at Participant to refine the company’s growth strategy, and identify opportunities that will enhance our reach and help accelerate positive social change around the world,” Skoll said.

Neswick came to Participant from the Walt Disney Co., where he worked in corporate strategy and business development — assessing the same type of broad portfolio of media assets that he oversees at Participant. He helped Disney, among other things, with the acquisition of Lucasfilm, expansion at resorts and parks in Asia and Europe.  He previously had been a management consultant at Bain & Company, after receiving a bachelor’s degree and MBA from Harvard.

The promotion of Neswick is expected to be just the first in a series of moves to revamp Participant, including the appointment of an outside board, completion of a strategic review by McKinsey & Co. and the choice of a replacement for Berk. Those developments were first reported by Variety. The former CEO’s resignation took place immediately, leaving Skoll to serve as head of the company during the search for a permanent replacement.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Barron HiltonBarron Hilton 1990

    Famed Hotelier Barron Hilton Dies at 91

    Barron Hilton, a famed hotelier who helped expand the Hilton Hotels empire and a founding owner of the Chargers NFL football team, has died, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced. He was 91. “Today the world of hospitality mourns for one of the greats. Barron Hilton was an incredible family man, business leader and philanthropist. [...]

  • Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel WME

    Endeavor Targets Sept. 27 for Stock Debut, IPO Video Tells Company's Origin Story

    After years of preparation, Endeavor is set to make its formal Wall Street debut on Sept. 27, when its stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Endeavor has targeted Sept. 26 for the final pricing of its shares. The stock will trade publicly the following day. Earlier this week, Endeavor said its [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Stock Drops After CEO Acknowledges 'Tough Competition' Coming From Disney, Apple

    Netflix shares fell as much as 7% Friday to a nine-month low, coming after CEO Reed Hastings commented that the November launches of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will introduce a “whole new world” of competition. Hastings, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference Friday in Cambridge, England, said, “While we’ve been competing with [...]

  • Charlie Rose Sexual Harassment

    Charlie Rose Sued for Sexual Harassment by Longtime Makeup Artist

    A makeup artist who worked for Charlie Rose for 22 years has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, accusing the former CBS and PBS host of years of unlawful behavior toward female employees. Gina Riggi alleges that Rose was verbally abusive with her and would often make derogatory comments about her weight. She also alleges that [...]

  • Rob Stringer

    Sony Music Chief Rob Stringer on Sustaining Growth and Recovering From the 'Dark Times'

    The Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference, now in its 28th year, gives top executives at major companies the opportunity to make their case to investors — and the Goldman analysts the opportunity to keep things on the up and up. While the analysts don’t necessarily grill the executives, they don’t lob softball questions either. That was [...]

  • Frank Grillo'Avengers: Endgame' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    Matt Phelps Tapped as President of Joe Carnahan, Frank Grillo's Warparty

    Frank Grillo and Joe Carnahan’s Warparty productikon banner has appointed Matt Phelps president of the company. Phelps will head the Los Angeles office and be responsible for overseeing all film and television projects. “We searched long and hard to find the right fit for Warparty and felt that Matt embodied everything that we were looking [...]

  • Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent,

    Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent, Dies at 88

    Jack Gilardi, a longtime ICM Partners agent who represented such stars as Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, Jerry Lewis, Charlton Heston and Shirley MacLaine, died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 88. Gilardi was known for his gentlemanly style, love of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his skill at representing top actors. He [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content