Disney Names Bergman Film Chairman, Gives Horn Top Creative Role
(Bloomberg) -- Walt Disney Co. named Alan Bergman, a 24-year company veteran, as sole chairman of its film studio, easing Alan Horn into the position of chief creative officer for the division.
The move wasn’t unexpected. Bergman, 54, served as president of the studio from 2005 to 2019, helping to build the industry’s top-grossing movie business. Disney’s run of success included seven films that took in more than $1 billion apiece at the box office in 2019. He joined Horn, 77, as co-chairman last year.
“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,” Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek said in a statement Monday.
Bergman’s ascension comes amid unprecedented disruption in Hollywood. Movie theaters have been closed or operating at reduced capacity due to the coronavirus, while film productions are struggling to restart under strict Covid-19 precautions. Meanwhile, streaming has upended the economics of film distribution, prompting several studios, including Disney, to divert their pictures from theaters to home-video services or online purchases.
Horn was plucked from semi-retirement in 2012 by Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO at the time. Horn previously served as president of Warner Bros. for more than a decade, developing the Harry Potter film franchise among other hits. Earlier, he worked with TV impresario Norman Lear and co-founded Castle Rock Entertainment.
Horn helped focus the sprawling Disney film empire following a string of acquisitions, including Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. He and Bergman were known internally as “the Alans.” Among their successes were a number of live-action remakes of classic Disney animated films, such as last year’s “Aladdin.” Disney’s film division took in $11.1 billion worldwide revenue in fiscal 2019.
Just as Iger stepped down in February to serve in a creative role as Disney’s executive chairman, Horn will continue to oversee filmmaking at the company. The heads of Disney units such as Pixar and Searchlight Pictures will continue to report to Bergman and Horn jointly on creative issues.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.