There was a big shake up today at Disney, Rich Ross, now former chairman of Walt Disney Studios, has apparently stepped down. Deadline reports he was actually fired while his statement, followed by Disney chairman Bob Iger’s, says otherwise. After the box office bust that was John Carter, I think fired, sacked, laid off or whatever you want to call it, make more sense here.
This is what he had to say to the rest of the staff left behind:
For the last 15 years, I have had the opportunity to work with incredibly talented people on behalf of the world’s best loved brand. During that time, we’ve told some amazing stories around the world, created successful TV programming, movies, and franchises that generated new opportunities for the company in the process.
I’ve always said our success is created and driven by our people – whom I consider to be the absolute best in the business. But, the best people need to be in the right jobs, in roles they are passionate about, doing work that leverages the full range of their abilities. It’s one of the leadership lessons I’ve learned during my career, and it’s something I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to as I look at the challenges and opportunities ahead.
I believe in this extraordinary Walt Disney Studios team, and I believe in our strong slate of films and our ability to make and market them better than anyone else. But, I no longer believe the Chairman role is the right professional fit for me. For that reason, I have made the very difficult decision to step down as Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, effective today.
It has been my honor to work with such incredible teams – at Disney Channels Worldwide and The Walt Disney Studios and the many other Disney businesses I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with. I know I leave the Studios in good hands and, even on separate paths, I am confident we are all destined for continued success.
Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney co. had this to say:
For more than a decade, Rich Ross’s creative instincts, business acumen and personal integrity have driven results in key businesses for Disney, redefining success in kids and family entertainment and launching franchises that generate value across our entire company. His vision and leadership opened doors for Disney around the world, making our brand part of daily life for millions of people. I appreciate his countless contributions throughout his entire career at Disney, and expect he will have tremendous success in whatever he chooses to do next.
Rich Ross has been working at Disney since 1996, first starting on the Disney Channel. In October 2009 he was named chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. Under his reign Disney released 3 of the top 10 highest grossing films ever worldwide, those being Alice in Wonderland (2010, $1,024 million), Toy Story 3 (2010, $1,063 million) and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011, $1,043 million). There were also less than stellar performers like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010, $335.2 million on a $200 million budget), The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010, $215.3 million worldwide, $150 million budget) and John Carter (2012, $269.4 million worldwide, $250 million budget), the film that’s probably to blame for Ross’ departure.
Ultimately I think this is a good thing, something needed to change at Disney and hopefully Rich Ross’ successor, whoever that ends up being, will do a better job. Either way this won’t have an effect on the imminent release of The Avengers, so don’t worry guys. However it will have a huge effect on the future projects that end up getting a green light at the house of mouse.