Kareem Daniel Exiting Disney in Returning CEO Bob Iger’s First Big Move

The Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution chief oversaw streaming and ad sales


Bob Iger is wasting no time making changes at Disney.

On Sunday, Disney’s board of directors announced Iger was back as CEO at the company, replacing Bob Chapek. Now, Chapek’s right-hand executive is gone too.

Monday afternoon, Iger sent a memo to Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution employees noting that Kareem Daniel, the company’s chairman of media and distribution, is moving on amid a major restructuring.

“I’ve asked Dana Walden, Alan Bergman, Jimmy Pitaro and Christine McCarthy to work together on the design of a new structure that puts more decision-making back in the hands of our creative teams and rationalizes costs, and this will necessitate a reorganization of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution. As a result, Kareem Daniel will be leaving the company, and I hope you will all join me in thanking him for his many years of service to Disney,” the memo reads.

Iger said elements of DMED will remain, but added that “storytelling is what fuels” the company, and it belongs “at the center” of how Disney organizes its business.

Daniel took on the position during an October 2020 restructuring under then-CEO Chapek. The restructuring was meant to streamline the company’s media and entertainment businesses by bringing distribution and commercialization, including Disney ad sales chief Rita Ferro’s team, under DMED, consolidating budgetary power for the company’s content and distribution divisions under Daniel.

As chairman of media and distribution, Daniel’s scope included global P&L management and operation of the company’s streaming services–Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and Star+; its portfolio of linear television channels, including ABC, Disney Channel and FX; its ABC owned-stations; its advertising sales business; Disney Music Group; content licensing and distribution; and theatrical film distribution for the company’s entertainment studios.

This is Iger’s first big move as CEO since returning to the position less than 24 hours ago.

Chapek had originally taken over as CEO in 2020 from Iger, who had been CEO from 2005 until 2020 and served as executive chairman until the end of 2021. However, Chapek’s rocky tenure, which included a controversial handling of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, created constant speculation that a CEO change would be forthcoming. Despite that, Disney’s board had signed Chapek to a multiyear renewal in June.

The CEO’s ousting came after Disney’s less than optimistic earnings call in early November, where the company announced its direct-to-consumer segment lost $1.5 billion in revenue in the last quarter—and $4 billion over the last year.

In terms of the DMED restructuring, the execs Iger named have plenty of experience under their belts. Bergman leads Disney’s studios division, Pitaro serves as chairman of ESPN and sports content, McCarthy is the company’s senior executive vice president and CFO and Walden took over for Peter Rice as chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content in June.

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