5 things to know about Thomas Staggs, Disney's new No. 2 executive

5 things to know about Thomas Staggs, newly appointed Disney chief operating officer

Thomas O. Staggs was named Walt Disney Co.'s chief operating officer on Thursday, making him the No. 2 executive at the Burbank entertainment giant.

Here are five things to know about Staggs:

Academic business

The Illinois native is no stranger to the business world. Staggs received his bachelor's degree in business from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, according to his Disney corporate bio page.

25-year Disney veteran

Staggs joined Disney in 1990 after working as an investment banker for Morgan Stanley & Co. Eight years later, Disney named him chief financial officer. Most recently, in January 2010, Staggs swapped jobs with current finance chief Jay Rasulo to become chairman of Disney's parks and resorts division.

Directing a big cast

Parks and resorts is the second-largest division at Disney and includes Disneyland in Anaheim, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, Disney Cruise Lines, and the Aulani resort in Hawaii. In that role, Staggs led a global team of about 130,000 employees.

Notable accomplishments

In the quarter that ended Dec. 27, Disney's parks revenue increased 9% to $3.9 billion. According to company, Staggs has "led the segment through the largest period of growth and expansion in its history, while generating record revenue, profit, and attendance levels." In September, Disney announced it kicked off construction of a "Frozen" attraction at the Norway Pavilion in the Epcot section of Disney World. Shanghai Disney Resort, a nearly $5-billion theme park resort, is slated to open in spring of 2016.

Iger's seal of approval

Staggs is now positioned as the top internal candidate to eventually take over for Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger, whose contract runs through June 2018.

“Tom is an incredibly experienced, talented and versatile executive who has led parks and resorts during a time of unprecedented growth and expansion, including the construction of Shanghai Disney Resort," Iger said in a statement. "His proven ability to lead a business as well as his successful tenure as Disney’s former CFO make him an ideal chief operating officer, expanding his portfolio into all the company’s businesses."

Times staff writer Meg James contributed to this report.

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