Disney Internet President Wadsworth Resigns; Successor to Be Named Shortly
A replacement will be named shortly, the Burbank, California-based company said in a statement. In an e-mail to employees last night, Wadsworth said he’ll remain through a transition after Disney Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger picks his successor.
Wadsworth, a 17-year veteran, becomes the sixth Disney division head to leave his job this year. That includes Chief Financial Officer Tom Staggs and Parks chief Jay Rasulo swapping roles. John Pleasants, CEO of Playdom, the social games company Disney bought in July, is the leading candidate for Wadsworth’s job, the New York Times reported yesterday, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the matter.
“There are a number of career adventures and new endeavors that I have been interested in exploring, but my commitment and focus have been here at Disney,” Wadsworth wrote in the e-mail. “While there is never a good time to leave a great role at a great company, for many reasons now is the right time for me to move on.”
Courtney Simmons, a spokeswoman for Disney’s Interactive division, said Wadsworth was unavailable to comment further.
Big media companies typically lose money online. Disney’s interactive group lost $65 million last quarter, while News Corp.’s digital media unit lost $174 million in the quarter ended in June. CBS Corp. stopped reporting interactive results after it lost $41.3 million in the first nine months of 2009.
Wadsworth has run Disney’s Interactive group since 1999 and assumed oversight of video-game operations in 2008. Since paying $350 million for the kids’ social network Club Penguin three years ago, Disney has purchased Wideload Games, whose founder helped create Microsoft Corp.’s hit “Halo” franchise. And in July, Disney acquired Tapulous, a publisher of music-related games for Apple Inc.’s iPhone.
“I am confident that the business is well positioned for continued significant growth,” Wadsworth wrote. “Our recent re-organization and acquisitions have put in place all of the elements needed to build a large, high growth, profitable business across multiple interactive media categories.”
Disney, the world’s biggest media company, rose 45 cents to $33.57 at 2:08 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Before today, it had gained 2.7 percent this year.
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