Disney Studio head Rich Ross names Sean Bailey president of production

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Sean Bailey, producer of Walt Disney Co.'s upcoming Christmas season release ‘Tron: Legacy’ and the recently scrapped ‘Captain Nemo: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,’ has become head of production at the Burbank studio, succeeding just-ousted Oren Aviv.Bailey has had a producer deal at Disney for several years and was previously partnered in the production company, LivePlanet, with Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Chris Moore. He also produced Disney’s Miramax release, ‘Gone Baby Gone,’ and was executive producer of TV programs such as ‘Project Greenlight.’

The choice is surprising. Bailey has no experience as a studio executive, which means he could face a steep learning curve in suddenly being responsible for having to put slates of movies together rather than working on one project at a time and managing dozens of executives and filmmakers.

His boss, Walt Disney Studios Chairman Rich Ross, is also new to the movie business, having worked in television all his career, most recently as head of the Disney Channel. The executive changes are part of the ongoing restructuring of the studio under Ross, which has resulted in the ousting of several top studio executives.

Update: (12:10 a.m., Jan. 15): For more on Bailey’s appointment, including comments from his former producing partner Ben Affleck, as well as more information on yesterday’s layoffs at Disney, see the story in today’s Times.


-- Claudia Eller and Dawn C. Chmielewski