In a move that ended the 15-year-plus Disney career of one of the company’s top executives, Walt Disney Studios Chairman Rich Ross has left the company, according to a number of media reports.
Here’s what Brooks Barnes of the New York Times’ Media Decoder blog writes: "Mr. Ross, a 15-year veteran of Disney, announced his departure to the studio in an e-mail. ‘I believe in our strong slate of films and our ability to make and market them better than anyone else,’ he wrote. ‘But, I no longer believe the chairman role is the right professional fit for me.’ Many people in Hollywood would argue that it was never a fit."
Barnes also writes that Ross’ "exit comes after Disney was forced to take a $200 million write-down tied to the science-fiction megaflop ‘John Carter.’ Other misses include ‘Mars Needs Moms’ and ‘Prom.’ Mr. Ross scored one smash: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.’"
“’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,’ [Disney CEO Robert] Iger said in a statement." Disney did not immediately name a replacement for Ross.
According to Ross’ official Disney biography, "Before joining the Studios in October 2009, Ross served as President of Disney Channels Worldwide, where he fostered the unprecedented growth of Disney’s global kids’ TV business with the development of a multiplatform strategy that included subscription video-on-demand and content-rich broadband websites; the original programming block of global hit series such as ‘Hannah Montana,’ ‘Wizards of Waverly Place,’ ‘That’s So Raven’ and ‘Phineas and Ferb’; and the hugely successful Disney Channel Original Movie franchise, which produced the international smash hit ‘High School Musical.’ Also under Ross’ supervision was Radio Disney, which has set the industry standard for kid and family content. Ross joined Disney in 1996 as Senior Vice President, Programming and Production, for Disney Channel, becoming General Manager and Executive Vice President, Programming and Production, in 1999. He was named Disney Channel President in 2002 before stepping into the role of Disney Channels Worldwide President in 2004.
"Ross previously served as Senior Vice President, Development and Production, at FX Networks, where he was a member of the executive team that launched the cable network, and spent seven years at Nickelodeon, where as Vice President, Program Enterprises, he was involved in all original-programming deals. He built the Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite talent relations department overseeing network casting and served as executive producer of the first televised kid-voted awards show, Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards."