Rich Ross to become chairman of Walt Disney Studios

Rich Ross has been named to succeed Dick Cook as chairman of Walt Disney Studios, ending the suspense that has swirled around that position since Mr. Cook’s abrupt departure last month. Mr. Ross currently heads Disney Channels Worldwide and has shepherded the growth of crowd-pleasing hits like High School Musical and Hannah Montana. Mr. Ross “has created huge value for the company” during his time in charge of the Disney Channels, Disney CEO Bob Iger told Daily Variety. “He turned that channel into a real creative engine for the company, and an effective means of delivering content and supporting the brand on a global basis. The leader of the studio needs very much to be able to do that.”

Noting that Mr. Ross has a strong television background but is “an outsider” in the film industry, Variety says that “Ross will have to forge ties with the prominent producers, helmers and thesps who work frequently with the studio, including Jerry Bruckheimer, Robert Zemeckis, Scott Rudin and Johnny Depp, as well as DreamWorks principals Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider, who inked a distribution pact with Disney earlier this year.” At this point it is not clear how Mr. Ross’s promotion might affect Disney’s slate of upcoming films, including Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and The Lone Ranger.

To read the Variety article on Rich Ross’s promotion, CLICK HERE. We congratulate Mr. Ross and wish him personal and artistic success in his new position. –Part-Time Poet