When Bob Iger stepped down as Walt Disney CEO, it was a matter of time before Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn made a similar move. Now, that time has finally come.
Horn has named Alan Bergman the new studio chairman. Bergman will help guide the company’s push into the world of streaming with Disney+ and Hulu and their reemergence from a global health crisis that has changed Disney’s ways of releasing content.
Alan Horn, who served as co-chairman of the studios group with Bergman, isn’t stepping down despite numerous rumors that he was eyeing retirement towards the end of 2021. He will continue to serve as the division’s chief creative officer, helping to guide the company’s vast and growing film slate. Both men will report to Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek.
The move isn’t a surprise. The two executives have been running Hollywood’s most successful movie studio together since spring of 2019 when Bergman was named co-chairman and Horn gained the additional title of chief creative officer.
In a statement from Bob Chapek:
“The Walt Disney Studios’ achievements under the leadership of Alan Horn and Alan Bergman have been nothing short of extraordinary. Having worked closely for years with Alan Bergman, an exceptional leader and proven executive, I couldn’t be more pleased to name him as Chairman. And we are incredibly fortunate to have Alan Horn continue as the Studios’ chief creative officer. Our studios are unmatched in their ability to create incredible cinematic experiences, and with this new structure, we are ensuring a vital continuity of leadership.”
Bergman is a 24-year veteran of Disney. Prior to being named co-chairman in 2019, he served as president of The Walt Disney Studios from 2005 to 2019. As sole chairman, Bergman will guide creative, production, marketing and operations for Disney Studios Content. His brief will include overseeing Disney and Walt Disney Animation Studios. He will also be tasked with directing the company’s biggest brands, which includes Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, as well as 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures, and Blue Sky Studios, which entered the Disney umbrella after the company bought most of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets in 2019. Bergman will also oversee Disney Theatrical Productions, which has been hit hard by the shut down of live events during COVID-19. Bergman is well-liked on the lot, and is seen as a shrewd executive who has both artistic chops and a keen business sense.
In a statement from Alan Bergaman:
“I am grateful to take on the role of chairman of the Studios as I believe deeply in our people, culture, and the work we do. I am also thankful to Bob Iger and Alan Horn for their leadership and the trust they’ve placed in me over the years and to Bob Chapek for his continued support, especially during this challenging year.”
Alan Horn is one of the most respected executives in the industry and his new role will allow him to focus on the creative direction of their film slate, both theatrically and for Disney+. In his recent biography, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger said Horn was the best hire of his career. Horn previously served as president and chief operating officer of Warner Bros. from 1999 to 2011.
In a statement from Alan Horn:
“It has been an honor to lead The Walt Disney Studios over the past eight-plus years, and I’m so grateful not only to Bob Iger for making it possible in the first place but to the Studios team, whom I find endlessly inspiring – I hope they are all as proud of what we’ve been able to do together as I am. It has been an amazing run, and the time feels right to shift my focus solely to our enormous creative slate. As for our new Studios Chairman, Alan Bergman has been at my side since day one; he has been the best partner imaginable, and the team could be in no better hands.”
During their tenure, Disney Studios set numerous records at the box office, surpassing $7 billion globally in 2016 and 2018 and $11 billion in 2019, the only studio ever to have reached these thresholds.