Longtime Walt Disney Studios executive Alan Bergman is getting a higher profile at the expanding Burbank entertainment company.
Bergman, 53, has been named co-chairman of Walt Disney Co.’s studio entertainment division, a title he will share with Alan Horn, 76, who has led the unit since 2012.
Bergman, who previously reported to Horn as president of Walt Disney Studios, will now report directly to Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Iger along with Horn.
Horn has been given the additional title of chief creative officer, the company said, reflecting his successful oversight of the company’s creative direction during the last seven years, leading to an unprecedented period of box office dominance. Disney’s movies grossed $7.3 billion in global receipts last year.
Bergman’s promotion acknowledges the critical role he has played in the growth of the studio, the company said.
A Disney veteran, Bergman has been president of Walt Disney Studios since 2005, overseeing its business units and leading the integration of key acquisitions, including Pixar Animation Studios and Marvel Studios. Bergman first joined Disney in 1996 before becoming the studio’s chief financial officer in 2001.
His elevated job comes as the studio’s business is getting even bigger with the acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s film units and the coming launch of Disney+, the firm’s streaming service that will use Disney-produced shows and movies to compete with Netflix and maintain its relevance. The move also sets up a potential plan of succession for when Horn eventually retires.
As co-chairmen, Horn and Bergman will lead a giant portfolio of entertainment brands including not only Walt Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, but also 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, Blue Sky Animation and Disney’s music and live theater groups. One of their biggest tasks is the ongoing integration of Fox’s business into Disney’s studio division.
Iger, in a statement, said the new leadership structure “formally recognizes the powerful partnership behind one of the most successful eras in our studios’ history and ensures we remain focused on creating extraordinary entertainment experiences for audiences around the world.”
Disney is coming off the success of Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Endgame,” which broke global box office records in its opening weekend. The 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grossed $1.48 billion in seven days of release, including $426.9 million in the U.S. and Canada, according to studio estimates.
The leadership shuffle comes as Disney is in the thick of an ambitious 2019 film slate that includes live-action remakes of “Aladdin” and “The Lion King,” as well as Fox’s “Dark Phoenix,” Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and “Frozen 2.” The studio is also producing a big lineup of content for Disney+, including multiple Marvel Studios series and a remake of “Lady and the Tramp.”
The heads of Disney’s creative units, who previously reported to Horn as sole chairman, will now report to both Horn and Bergman. Likewise, the human resources, communications, marketing and distribution arms that previously reported directly to Bergman now report to both executives.