Disney’s Iger Acts Quickly To Spread Power

Nearly two weeks after being named Disney’s new chief executive, Robert Iger has made his first significant move to change the way decisions are made at the media conglomerate.

The Walt Disney Co. said Friday it is restructuring its corporate Strategic Planning unit to give each of the company’s businesses more authority to make acquisitions and start new ventures

Peter Murphy, Disney’s chief strategic officer, will leave that role and become a senior adviser to Iger, the company said.

New Spirit at Disney
Iger, who will take over from longtime CEO Michael Eisner in October, has said he wants to foster a more entrepreneurial atmosphere at the company while holding the heads of Disney’s film studio, media networks, consumer products and theme parks divisions more accountable.

The Strategic Planning unit has had enormous influence at the company during Eisner’s tenure, spearheading such moves as Disney’s acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC in 1995 and the Muppets last year.

But the unit also played a role in the decision to pay $5.3 billion for Fox Family Worldwide, a move that was widely criticized.

Disney has since acknowledged overpaying for the company, which includes the since renamed ABC Family Channel, although the channel has recently improved its ratings and advertising revenue.

Empowered Leadership
Iger said the new corporate structure “will create efficiency with accountability and empower our business unit leaders in their ongoing efforts to create new, differentiated and compelling entertainment experiences.”

A smaller strategic planning unit will still develop the company’s five-year plan and advise Iger on acquisition opportunities and new technology, the company said.

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