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Disney Channels Head Carolina Lightcap Resigns Unexpectedly

Carolina Lightcap resigned unexpectedly as president of Disney Channels Worldwide after less than two years on the job.

Gary Marsh was named president and chief creative officer of the unit, Burbank, California-based Walt Disney Co. said today in an e-mailed statement.

The move puts children’s networks including Disney Channel and Disney XD into the hands of the creator of some of its biggest shows, including “Hannah Montana” and “High School Musical.” Lightcap, plucked from Disney Channels’ Latin American operations in November 2009, said she was leaving with some Disney cable channels’ ratings at their highest ever.

“I readily embrace change as a good thing, and really look forward to the next chapter of my career,” Lightcap said in a letter to her staff.

The departure by Lightcap, an 11-year Disney veteran who had headed marketing in Latin America, is the second high-level resignation at Disney this month.

On Sept. 6, Andrew P. Mooney resigned as chairman of the consumer products unit to seek a larger executive role.

The Disney Channel’s ratings were up by 10 percent in the company’s most recent quarter, Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger said in a Aug. 9 earnings conference call. Ratings at XD channel, which is targeted at boys, increased by 24 percent.

For the period ended July 2, the worldwide Disney Channel operation contributed to the company’s 11 percent increase in operating earnings for its media networks unit, which includes the ESPN sports channel, Disney said on Aug. 9.

‘Phineas and Ferb’

Marsh, who was president of entertainment and chief creative officer at Disney Channels, most recently developed the “Phineas and Ferb” franchise. A movie based on the characters, “Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension,” was cable TV’s most-watched movie this past summer, Disney said on Aug. 6.

Disney, the world’s largest theme-park company and the owner of Pixar and Marvel movie studios, rose 65 cents to $32.94 today in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have declined 12 percent this year.

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