Lightcap out, Marsh in as head of Disney Channels Worldwide
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In a surprise move, Carolina Lightcap is leaving her position as president of Disney Channels Worldwide after just under two years on the job.
The departure is the second high-profile exit from Walt Disney Co. Last week, Andy Mooney abruptly resigned as chairman for Disney Consumer Products.
Taking over for Lightcap is Disney Channel veteran Gary Marsh, who had been president of entertainment for Disney Channels Worldwide.
Tapped to succeed Rich Ross after he left Disney Channels Worldwide to run Walt Disney Studios in November 2009, Lightcap was seen as an unusual choice at the time. Although she had been at Disney since 2000, most of her time was spent overseeing Disney’s cable programming efforts in Latin America.
At that time, Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks, said Lightcap’s ‘wealth of experience, leadership acumen, and programming, marketing and franchise building skills make her the ideal executive to lead Disney Channels Worldwide into the future.’
No reason for Lightcap’s resignation was given in the news release issued by by Disney. People close to the channels said there were issues regarding Lightcap’s management style.
Lightcap said she thought the ‘timing was perfect to move on to my next challenge.’ Sweeney said the company was ‘sorry that Carolina decided to leave us.’
Marsh was thought to have been an obvious successor to Ross by many in the industry at that time, but people inside the company wanted to keep him focused running the entertainment side of the Disney Channel. Marsh is credited with playing a key role in the development of such Disney Channels hits as ‘High School Musical,’ ‘Hannah Montana’ and ‘Phineas and Ferb.’
‘Gary Marsh has been the driving creative force behind Disney Channels’ remarkable growth for the past 15-plus years,’ Sweeney said in a statement. ‘He not only understands the zeitgeist of kids’ culture, he helped create it.’
Besides Disney Channel, Marsh will have oversight over Disney XD, the company’s new channel aimed at young boys. He will also be in charge of both domestic and international operations for the unit.
-- Joe Flint