Disney Names New CFO, Filling Key Position

The Walt Disney Firm has named Hugh F. Johnston its new Chief Monetary Officer (CFO) and Senior Government Vice President efficient December 4, 2023. CEO Bob Iger made the announcement in the present day, which Disney shared in a press launch. This publish covers that together with our commentary about this transfer.

Johnston is the present Vice Chairman and Chief Monetary Officer of PepsiCo, the place he has held quite a few management positions throughout a extremely profitable 34-year profession with the multinational meals and beverage large. As Disney’s Chief Monetary Officer, Johnston will report on to Iger and can lead the corporate’s worldwide finance group, which incorporates company technique and enterprise improvement, monetary planning and evaluation, investor relations, threat administration, and far more.

“Hugh’s well-earned fame as among the best CFOs in America and his wealth of management expertise in each monetary and operational roles overseeing a various portfolio of prime international manufacturers make him an ideal addition to Disney’s senior management crew,” mentioned Iger. “His experience will serve Disney and its shareholders properly as we proceed the transformative work we’re doing to drive progress and worth creation.

“I might additionally like to increase my honest gratitude to Kevin Lansberry, who stepped into the CFO function on an interim foundation earlier this yr,” Iger mentioned. “Kevin has offered regular management and invaluable counsel to our government administration crew, and he’ll proceed to be considered one of our firm’s most vital monetary leaders as he returns to his function as CFO of our Disney Experiences phase.”

“Disney is such a storied firm, with probably the most beloved manufacturers on the earth and a robust monetary basis to assist the corporate of the long run that Bob and his crew are constructing,” Johnston mentioned. “Only a few corporations have withstood the take a look at of time that Disney has, making the corporate as uncommon as it’s particular. I share Bob’s enthusiasm for Disney’s future, and I’m extremely excited to affix this administration crew on this second of alternative and chance.”

Johnston joined PepsiCo in 1987, and has held a wide range of roles, together with Government Vice President, World Operations, PepsiCo; President, Pepsi-Cola North America; Senior Vice President, Transformation, PepsiCo; Senior Vice President and Chief Monetary Officer, PepsiCo Drinks and Meals; and Senior Vice President, Mergers and Acquisitions, PepsiCo. Johnston additionally served as Vice President, Retail at Merck & Co. from 1999 till 2002, when he rejoined PepsiCo.

Johnston was named CFO of PepsiCo in 2010 and has been chargeable for offering strategic monetary management for PepsiCo, together with guaranteeing the corporate’s technique creates shareholder worth, speaking the corporate’s methods and efficiency to traders, and implementing a capital construction, monetary processes and controls to assist the corporate’s progress and return on funding targets.

Johnston at present serves as a member of the board and chair of the audit committee of Microsoft Corp., and as a member of the board and chair of the audit committee of HCA Healthcare. He’s additionally a director for the Peterson Institute for Worldwide Economics, a number one international financial suppose tank. Johnston holds a Bachelor of Science diploma from Syracuse College and an M.B.A. from the College of Chicago.

Turning to commentary, I don’t have a lot to say about this specific dude. This being the web, I may Google “Hugh F. Johnston,” learn a number of issues, after which fake like I’m a school soccer scout and he’s been on my radar since he was slinging again in pee-wee. Enjoyable as that is perhaps, it’d even be disingenuous. The primary time I heard of this man was in the present day.

Though I doubt you care this a lot, I’ll share an article I learn final yr: PepsiCo has churned out 16 Fortune 500 CEOs due to this straightforward management improvement technique. If that’s acquainted, you may’ve really learn it already–we linked to it again in Is Disney Ruining Its Popularity? final yr.

This text about PepsiCo management practices has now been shared twice on a Disney weblog as a result of it jogs my memory of how Disney used to develop expertise–and the way the corporate nonetheless pretends it does enterprise when presenting itself to company America with stuff just like the Disney Institute. As a lot as I like Disney, if I had been available in the market for skilled improvement and coaching, I’d look elsewhere.

Anyway, this isn’t to say that this Hugh F. Johnston fella is an exemplar of PepsiCo’s inner expertise improvement. Neither is it to deduce that he’s going to remodel the Walt Disney Firm’s company construction within the picture of Pepsi. (However perhaps he ought to!) It’s solely to level out that Pepsi is sweet at cultivating leaders–they’ve numerous alums at Fortune 500 corporations–and maybe that is one other occasion of that.

One other fascinating level is Johnston’s age. Based mostly on my sources (a 3 second Google search), he’s 62 years previous. That’s 10 years youthful than Bob Iger, 5 years youthful than departed CFO Christine McCarthy, one yr youthful than Bob Chapek, and the identical age as my mother (who has equal possibilities of changing into a Fortune 50 CEO sooner or later as Bob Chapek).

Most importantly, it’s nearly the very same age as each Tom Staggs and Kevin Mayer, a duo that this weblog has been championing as co-heads of Disney with an Eisner-Wells or Walt-Roy dynamic. In different phrases, Hugh F. Johnston is younger sufficient that he could possibly be coming aboard as a part of the Walt Disney Firm’s succession planning, and being groomed to be the long run CEO as soon as Iger retires.

Beforehand, CFO Christine McCarthy’s identify appeared atop the checklist of 5 talked-about candidates for the long run CEO job. She’s now gone. That checklist is also/was rumored to have included Dana Walden, Disney’s tv chief, and Josh D’Amaro, Disney’s theme park chairman. Earlier reporting means that the board doesn’t view both candidate as “fairly prepared” for the function.

Finally, that Johnston is perhaps a future CEO candidate for the Walt Disney Firm is only speculative on our half. It’s additionally attainable that Disney merely provided him more cash and he has no aspirations past being CFO, or no clear path to the CEO place. If Disney goes to look outdoors the corporate for its subsequent CEO, it might appear logical to poach somebody with expertise within the leisure business.

That’s, except the plan had been to have a duo on the prime, with one having generalized management abilities and the opposite having a media background. Even in that situation, it does appear considerably odd to have an ‘outsider’ within the prime spot, main a crew of Disney veterans. It’s additionally attainable that they’ll do the traditional Disney factor, and shuffle Johnston into a number of positions to spherical out his expertise. The clock is absolutely ticking on that, although.

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What do you concentrate on Disney hiring Hugh F. Johnston as its subsequent Chief Monetary Officer? Suppose he’s realistically within the working as substitute CEO? Who do you suppose can be CEO of the Walt Disney Firm on January 1, 2027? Will or not it’s Bob Iger (nonetheless), Bob Chapek (one way or the other), Tom Staggs, Kevin Mayer, Josh D’Amaro, Hugh F. Johnston, my mother, or not one of the above? Who ought to or not it’s? Ideas on anything mentioned right here? Are you optimistic or pessimistic in regards to the Walt Disney Firm’s future? Suppose issues will get higher in 2024-2025? Do you agree or disagree with our evaluation? Any questions we may help you reply? Listening to your suggestions–even once you disagree with us–is each fascinating to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas under within the feedback!

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