Who’s on Disney’s Short List to Replace Rich Ross?

25 Apr

By Ozzie

With the news of Rich Ross stepping down from his role as Chairman of Walt Disney Studios, we thought we’d give a little history about the man and his possible replacements.

Rich started his career at Nickelodeon, working his way up to Vice President of Program Enterprises. There he created Nickelodeon/Nick at Night talent relations department and was an executive producer for the first Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards show. In 1993 he became the Senior Vice President of Development and Production role at FX Networks where he helped launch the channel. Rich moved to the Disney Channel in 1996 where he worked his way up to president of Disney Channels Worldwide in 2004.[1] He was very successful at the Disney Channel; he oversaw the expansion of its channels, radio and websites. He was also behind popular “tween” shows show as Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place and movies, such as the High School Musical series and Camp Rock. In 2009 Rich was chosen to become Chairman of Walt Disney Studios.[2]

Rich had successful films during his time as chairman, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Tangled and Cars 2 just to name a few, the flops; in particular John Carter, and the lack of experienced employees hired by him, tipped the scales in the wrong direction for him. So, who are the possible replacements?

The front runner is Kevin Feige. He is President of Production at Marvel Studios (which is owned by The Walt Disney Company), a position he has held since 2007 and has produced many of its hit films, such as X-Men, Spiderman and Iron Man. His next film will be The Avengers which Disney hopes will lessen the loss from John Carter.

Another contender is Stacey Snider, Principal Partner, Co-Chairman, and CEO of DreamWorks Studio. She has held many high positions at companies like Guber Peters Entertainment, TriStar Pictures and Universal before starting DreamWorks. Stacey has been part of many film successes, most recently being The Help and War Horse.[3]

Joe Roth is also in the running and has the advantage of being a previous Chairman at Walt Disney Studios (1994-2000). He has been Chairman at 20th Century Fox, Revolution Studios, which Joe created but closed in 2007 and he moved to Sony Pictures.[4]  He’s been involved with many films too including Black Hawk Down, Mona Lisa Smiles and Alice in Wonderland.[5]

Scott Stuber’s name has also come up. Since 2004 he has been Co-President of Productions of Universal Pictures and in 2008 he was given a deal through Universal for his own production company, Stuber Pictures. Scott has most recently worked on Love and Other Drugs and has films Battleship and Ted being released soon.[6]

Another possibility is Stuber’s former business partner, Mary Parent. Mary worked for New Line Cinema before taking the position of Co-President of Production at Universal (opposite Stuber). [7]They were given a deal in 2005 by Universal for their company Stuber/Parent Productions but left in 2008 to become Chairperson at MGM’s Worldwide Production Group. She left MGM shortly before it filed for bankruptcy and now has a deal with Paramount for her own production company. Mary has worked on films such as The Kingdom and Pleasantville.[8]

Lastly, Sean Bailey is also a candidate and currently working for Disney. He has worked with Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Universal and many, many more production companies. Sean has worked on films such as The Core, Matchstick Men and Gone Baby Gone. In 2010 he became President of Production for Disney and worked on Tron: Legacy.[9]

For now, it is actually left to Sean Bailey and Walt Disney Studios’ President who to fill in until a replacement for Rich Ross has been found.[10]

Please join us for a discussion Thursday 4/26/2012@7pm/12UTC.

30 Responses to “Who’s on Disney’s Short List to Replace Rich Ross?”

  1. Open Book April 25, 2012 at 12:41 PM #


    Although the other contenders sound impressive. I’m voting for Stacey Snider because the films she’s been involved in are so diverse. I think that was the big problem with Ross he did not know how to communicate with a broad audience which explains why John Carter failed to connect with sci-fi fans like myself.

    Who do u vote for?

    • ozzie20 April 26, 2012 at 7:13 PM #

      I think it’s down to three people. Kevin Feige, Stacey Snider and Sean Bailey. I too would vote for Snider because I think it would be interesting to see what a woman in charrge could do. However on my travels while researching it’s been said that both Snider and Feige are happy where they are. I purely put Bailey in my top three because he’s currently at Disney and is also filling in for Ross until a replacement is found. For some reason though, my gut says he isn’t quite 100% right. Of course during this time till they replacement is anounced he could prove more than suitable. I’ve also read somewhere Jerry Bruckheimer’s name has been mentioned as a far outsider possibility, lol!

      • Open Book April 26, 2012 at 8:09 PM #

        Jerry B. Really? Yeah! That’s a pretty far reach.

        • ozzie20 April 26, 2012 at 8:10 PM #

          Yes, that’s what I thought!

  2. Comic Relief April 25, 2012 at 12:55 PM #

    Great article Ozzie.

    • ozzie20 April 26, 2012 at 7:14 PM #

      Thank you, CR! 🙂

  3. littlebells April 26, 2012 at 7:36 PM #

    Great article Ozzie!

    What was Ross’s ratio of successes to failures?

    • Open Book April 26, 2012 at 8:07 PM #

      That’s a really good Q. LB!

      Hi Everyone!

      • littlebells April 26, 2012 at 8:11 PM #

        Hi OB!

        I was about to break out my kareoke machine and start singing to myself Hahahaha!!!!

        • Open Book April 26, 2012 at 8:15 PM #


          LOL!! I like the elevator music too.

      • ozzie20 April 26, 2012 at 8:15 PM #

        Gosh that’s a tough question, lol! I think it’s 50/50 but unfortunately one happened to lose 200 million dollars. That might be a bit unacceptable, lol!

        • Open Book April 26, 2012 at 8:20 PM #

          Hmm! I wonder if the marketing budget was more for JC than all the other films as well? I mean the other films had known actors and sequels so that help sell the film.

          • ozzie20 April 26, 2012 at 8:26 PM #

            I think so too. I’m sure I read somewhere a massive amount of money went into advertisement.

            • littlebells April 26, 2012 at 9:01 PM #

              What marketing? I honestly saw nothing!

  4. ozzie20 April 26, 2012 at 8:10 PM #

    I didn’t put it in my article as I wanted to focus on the Ross’ background so people could see why some people thought he wasn’t suitable in the first place, and also to focus on the future. I didn’t want the article to be completely about blaming or pointing out his short falls. However, I did want to briefly point out the main list of reasons why people are glad he’s going. I thought the comments would be best for it.

    One of course is the poor advertising campaigns and the expenses. Two was that he let go of people knew how things worked and who had worked for a long time there, and him replacing them with people with little experiance. Finally three was he reduced the amount of films they make per year. I think read that Disney put out 24 movies a year but Ross reduced it to 12. So if that number was the same, there would be more of a chance to make up for the loss. He also sold Miramax and a motion caption facility.

    • littlebells April 26, 2012 at 8:13 PM #

      Wow. Those don’t sound like wise business decisions. if it ain’t broke…

    • Open Book April 26, 2012 at 8:14 PM #

      Wow! So he was spreading the love. LOL!!

      Perhaps he got rid of the experienced people because they did not support him. Plus the new people are cheaper.

      • littlebells April 26, 2012 at 8:19 PM #

        Cheap isn’t always better. I mean u don’t see futons in five star hotels, right?

        • Open Book April 26, 2012 at 8:25 PM #

          True! True! I think its better to spend the money on quality and reduce the quantity. However, Ross believed u reduce the quality and quantity. Then u get crap!! LOL!!

      • ozzie20 April 26, 2012 at 8:20 PM #

        This is hear say so don’t put much stock into it but apparently he could be arrogant and had an “I know better than you” attitude.

        • Open Book April 26, 2012 at 8:23 PM #

          Yeah! That attitude is a symptom of being overwhelmed and in over your head. Basically, u become secretive because your afraid people will find out u don’t know what the hell to do. Does that make sense?

          • ozzie20 April 26, 2012 at 8:31 PM #

            Oh yes! Yes it does! I also think I read a rumor that he passed the blame on to others and also critised them. I’m trying to find the article that says this but I looked at so many, I can’t remember where I saw it. My disappearing from time to time is down to me trying to find it. No luck so far, lol!

            • Open Book April 26, 2012 at 8:33 PM #

              Well, will Ross go back to TV? Did he leave Disney altogether?

              • ozzie20 April 26, 2012 at 8:42 PM #

                It sounds like he completely left Disney. I think it’s best if he went back to TV. He obviously has a great talent in that area.

            • ozzie20 April 26, 2012 at 8:39 PM #

              Found it: Ross spoke negatively about the film, according to people familiar with the situation but not authorized to discuss it publicly. Ross sought to blame Pixar Animation Studios for the “John Carter” debacle, they said. That prompted key Pixar executives to turn against Ross, whose abundance of self-confidence and abrasive style had alienated many within the studio. It set the stage for Iger to remove the studio chief from his post, say people familiar with the matter.


              • Open Book April 26, 2012 at 8:58 PM #

                Great research Oz!

                You know anyone who takes over Ross position has so much to overcome and clean up. Yikes!!

                I have to go but this was a very informative article and discussion.

                • ozzie20 April 26, 2012 at 9:02 PM #

                  *bows* Thank you and thank you for coming! 🙂

  5. littlebells April 26, 2012 at 8:57 PM #

    Ok, I’m home now and can actually type!

    It’s amazing how much finger pointing happens in HW.

    • ozzie20 April 26, 2012 at 9:03 PM #

      I agree!

  6. ozzie20 April 26, 2012 at 9:27 PM #

    Well, I better get going myself. It’s an early morning wake up today and I’ll need as much sleep as I can get, lol!

    Thanks for coming! 🙂

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