Disney streaming executive Ricky Strauss steps down in latest shakeup

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Ricky Strauss, a top Walt Disney Co. executive who oversaw programming for streaming services, is leaving the company after nine years.

Strauss, who has been with the Burbank entertainment company since January 2012, most recently was head of programming and content curation for Disney’s key media and entertainment distribution division. In that role, he oversaw programming and content curation for Disney+ and Hulu.

In a Wednesday note to staff, Disney direct-to-consumer and international operations chair Rebecca Campbell described Strauss’ departure as a “personal decision” following a dramatic reorganization of the company in October around its streaming efforts. The changes, which created a distribution unit separate from the content production arms of the company, limited Strauss’ role.


Strauss previously was president of content and marketing for Disney+, a position that made him responsible for developing the vision for the service’s content and for overseeing its original programming slate.

Disney released quarterly earnings, revealing a big jump in subscriptions for Disney+.

Nov. 12, 2020

“Ricky’s leadership of the Disney+ Content & Marketing efforts leading up to and following the launch of Disney+ has been remarkable — and we are so appreciative of his expertise, passion and care,” Campbell said in the note. “However, the recent company reorganization led to a significant change in Ricky’s role. After a great deal of reflection, he decided it was time to pursue new creative endeavors.”

Disney’s streaming business has been a bright spot for the entertainment and media titan while its other businesses — especially theme parks — have been walloped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company, led by CEO Bob Chapek, said last month that it plans to bring more than 100 new titles a year to Disney+, representing a big surge from its previous lineup. The service, which launched in November 2019, had reached 86.8 million subscribers as of Dec. 2, and is projected to hit as many as 260 million through fiscal 2024, according to the company.

Prior to the Disney+ job, Strauss was president of marketing for Walt Disney Studios, leading the promotional rollout of movies from Disney labels including Pixar and Lucasfilm. Before joining Disney, he spent seven years as president of production company Participant Media, known for socially conscious movies such as “An Inconvenient Truth” and “The Cove.”

He did not say what he planned to do next.

“It took much thought and consideration, but with our new structure and the changes to my role, the reorganization does not provide me with the opportunity to do the kind of work I love to do and to continue making the intended impact I have been so fortunate to have achieved at Disney,” Strauss said in a email to employees.