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Buena Vista Promotes Chapek

19 Jul, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Bob Chapek has been promoted to president of Buena Vista Worldwide Home Entertainment, adding international home video to his domestic home video responsibilities.

Dennis Maguire, who previously headed international, has left the company.

Chapek will continue to report directly to Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook.

Chapek's promotion is part of a major corporate shakeup that reflects the July 18 announcement by Cook of a “strategic shift” toward more Disney-branded movies.

The studio will cut back its annual filmed entertainment output to approximately 10 Disney live-action and animated films and two or three Touchstone movies.

The studio also is replacing Nina Jacobson as president of the Walt Disney Motion Picture Group. Oren Aviv, who had been president of marketing and chief creative officer, will take over Disney's live-action development and film production as president of production, Walt Disney Pictures.

Jim Gallagher, who had been SVP of creative services, will replace Aviv as head of marketing.

Disney is expected to reduce its worldwide work force by 20% to about 650 positions.

Chapek's elevation is the latest in a series of management reorganizations at the major studios' home entertainment divisions.

In April, longtime Sony Pictures Home Entertainment president Benjamin Feingold was tapped to lead the studio's charge into the digital arena, including Internet downloads and VOD. His title changed to president of worldwide home entertainment, digital distribution and acquisitions, and ex-MGM video chief David Bishop was named president, North America, for the home entertainment unit.

In February, Paramount Pictures moved worldwide home entertainment president Thomas Lesinski into the new position of president of the newly formed Digital Media Group. Kelley Avery, previously with DreamWorks, took Lesinski's old job.

And last October, Warner Bros. formed a new digital entertainment group headed by Kevin Tsujihara. Warner Home Video became part of that group, and division president Jim Cardwell was replaced by Ron Sanders.

At Disney, Chapek is now charged with overseeing the worldwide distribution and marketing of the studio's films on home entertainment platforms.

Since taking over as domestic president in the fall of 2000, Chapek has led the division to a solid No. 2 market share slot, thanks to a diverse roster of blockbuster DVD releases ranging from animated megahits like Finding Nemo and The Incredibles to live-action successes such as Pearl Harbor and Pirates of the Caribbean. Chapek also spurred overall revenue with the successful Disney Video Premieres line of direct-to-video sequels to animated classics as well as extras-packed special editions of Bambi, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp and Sleeping Beauty, all of which have been best sellers.

Chapek joined Buena Vista Home Entertainment in May 1993 as director of marketing and subsequently held several titles at increased levels of responsibility in marketing until his promotion to president in 2000.

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