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Disney's CFO-Theme Park Chairman Executive Swap


The Walt Disney Company just announced it's swapping the jobs of two of its top execs.

Tom Staggs, the company's long-time Chief Financial Officer, will become Chairman of the Parks and Resorts division. The chairman of the Parks and Resorts division, Jay Rasulo will take his role of Chief Financial Officer.

It's a full-on job swap.

This move seems wacky, but it's actually quite in keeping with Iger's strategy of cross-pollinating the company with star executives from other parts of the Magic Kingdom. Last month Iger appointed Rich Ross, previously head of the Disney Channels, head of the movie studio. And this strategy worked in 2004 when then-president of ABC's cable networks and the Disney Channels, Anne Sweeney was made head of the ABC network.

The company says the re-assignments are about giving execs opportunities in other parts of the company. But there's no question it's also designed to bring Staggs and Rasulo's broad experience -- both have been with Disney for over 20 years -- to help other divisions. After all, Iger's strategy is to build brands that generate revenue across all its platforms-- moving around the folks that are most familiar with the brands and the opportunities seems like it can't hurt platforms. Staggs has been CFO for over a decade, Rasulo became president of the parks division in 2002, Chairman in 2005. These guys have been in their jobs for a while; chances are they're ready for a change.

The switch comes at a crucial time for the theme parks division -- China has just given the next step of approval towards building a theme park in Shanghai. And though Disney would deny this, experience at the theme parks could give Staggs crucial experience to have the top job at the company way down the road.

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