Disney CEO Bob Iger has formally appointed several key 21st Century Fox executives to leadership positions, as Disney closes its $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox's entertainment assets.
The appointments, which were long anticipated, amount to a Fox-ification of Disney's television unit. That is a coup for Rupert Murdoch, whose family is now Disney's second-largest shareholder, with many of his top lieutenants transferring to positions of influence at one of Hollywood's most powerful studios.
Peter Rice, a longtime Fox executive who insiders describe as Murdoch's third son, will now take the top television role at Disney, overseeing assets ranging from ABC to FX to National Geographic. Currently president of 21st Century Fox and chairman and CEO of Fox Networks, Rice will become chairman of Walt Disney Television and co-chair of Disney Media Networks. He will replace ABC President Ben Sherwood, who plans to leave the network.
Among the many Fox executives making the jump are Dana Walden, the chairwoman and CEO of Fox Television, who will take the helm at ABC Entertainment and also serve as chairman of Disney Television Studios. John Landgraf, one of Hollywood's most celebrated studio heads, will continue to oversee FX Networks and FX Productions, which Disney will acquire as part of the deal. They will both report to Rice.