Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International, is poised to be the latest board room exit from Disney. Disney sources tell Variety that Bird will be leaving after a 14-year career with the media and entertainment company.
The moves are seen as part of a larger restructuring of Disney that is taking place ahead of the anticipated takeover of much of 21st Century Fox’s film and television businesses. The pending merger has left many executives jockeying for seats, as Disney tries to figure out where to place key Fox execs, while also deciding which employees at both companies can be let go. It’s unclear who will fill Bird’s role, but he will remain with Disney through a transition period following the company-wide reorganization.
Disney chairman Bob Iger last week described the reorganization as being aimed at “strategically positioning our businesses for the future.” The reshuffle also saw the elevation of Kevin Mayer to chairman of a new Disney division: direct-to-consumer and international. Robert Chapek, head of the theme park division, was named chairman of another new division, called parks, experiences, and consumer products, which includes merchandising and video games.
In March, Dave Hollis, president of worldwide distribution, announced he was leaving the studio to move with his family to Texas. He will become CEO of his wife’s company, Chic Media, a producer of content for moms and millennial women. Hollis is being replaced by Cathleen Taff, who is adding distribution to a portfolio that also includes franchise management and business & audience insights.
Bird joined Disney in 2004 and helped the company extend its reach in several parts of the world, including such major markets as China, Russia, and India. Prior to Disney, Bird worked at Time Warner, first as senior vice president and general manager of Turner Entertainment Networks, and eventually president of TBS International.