Disney resolved an unanswered question in its film department on Monday: Alan Bergman, 54, was appointed chairman, succeeding Alan F. Horn, 77, a venerable Hollywood personality who has headed Walt Disney Studios since 2012 . Mr. Horn will continue to serve as Chief Creative Officer.
“It has been an honor to lead Walt Disney Studios for the past eight years,” Horn said in a statement. “It’s time to focus solely on our tremendous creative development.” This month, Disney said the film division would increase production dramatically to deliver Disney +, the company’s year-long streaming service that grew in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Bergman joined Walt Disney Studios in 1996 and was promoted to business affairs where he was responsible for finance, technology, legal and human resources. Most recently, he was co-chair of the division that includes Pixar, 20th Century Studios, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Blue Sky Studios, Searchlight Pictures, Walt Disney Animation, Disney Live-Action Movies and Disney’s Live Stage Shows. The heads of these units will jointly report to Mr. Bergman and Mr. Horn, Disney said. Mr. Bergman and Mr. Horn will report to Bob Chapek, Disney’s managing director.
“With this new structure, we ensure an important continuity of leadership,” said Chapek in a statement. Mr. Bergman said he was “grateful to take on the role” and thanked Mr. Chapek for “his continued support, especially during this challenging year”.
A spokesman declined to say how long Mr. Horn would serve in his role. The structure recalls how Disney recently tackled succession at the highest level and announced in February that Robert A. Iger would step down as chief executive to become executive chairman and focus on the company’s creative endeavors. Mr Iger said he would retire entirely in late 2021 when his contract expires.
Under the leadership of Mr. Horn, Disney became by far Hollywood’s most dominant film company. Last year, Disney controlled roughly 40 percent of the domestic box office, and seven of its releases grossed more than $ 1 billion worldwide. Mr. Horn was previously the top film manager at Warner Bros., where he directed the eight-film series “Harry Potter” and Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. He previously co-founded Castle Rock Entertainment, which featured “When Harry Met Sally” and “A Few Good Men”, among others.