Disney veteran Ricky Strauss, one of the key executives that launched Disney+ and former head of marketing for Walt Disney Studios, is leaving the company after nine years.
Rebecca Campbell, Disney’s Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer & International, made the announcement internally, with Strauss also sharing the news with his staff.
Strauss’ decision comes a couple of months after the big restructuring at Disney, which saw him take on a new role as President of Programming & Content Curation for Disney+ and Hulu.
In light of his departure, Disney+’s EVP marketing and operations Joe Earley, who has programming experience from his tenure at Fox, will add Content Curation for Disney+ to his purview and continue to report into Michael Paull, President, Disney+ and ESPN+. Hulu’s VP content partnerships Brian Henderson, who oversees Hulu Content Curation, will report into Hulu President Kelly Campbell.
Previously, Strauss served as President of Content & Marketing for Disney+, where he was responsible for developing the strategic content vision for the service, overseeing development of the service’s original programming slate, production partnerships and content acquisitions. He was named to the position in 2018, ahead of the successful 2019 launch of the streaming platform. Strauss’ role changed after content development was shifted to the Disney-owned studios over the past year.
Prior to that, Strauss served as President of marketing for The Walt Disney Studios, overseeing the Studios’ global marketing strategy encompassing creative, media, digital, promotions, publicity, research and synergy across all distribution channels for motion pictures released under the Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm banners.
Blockbuster films that Disney delivered under Strauss’ tenure include Star Wars: The Force Awakens, for which Strauss was named Marketer of the Year by Advertising Age; Rogue One: A Star Wars Story; Marvel’s The Avengers, Captain America: Civil War, and Guardians of the Galaxy; Disney’s The Jungle Book, Cinderella, Maleficent, and Beauty and the Beast; Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen, Zootopia, and Moana; and Disney•Pixar’s Incredibles 2, Finding Dory and Inside Out.
Here is Campbell’s memo, followed by Strauss’ email to his colleagues:
It is with great regret that I inform you that, after nine years with The Walt Disney Company, Ricky Strauss has made the personal decision to leave the company.
Ricky has been an incredibly creative, dedicated leader and friend to so many of us at Disney. As Bob Iger has shared with me on many occasions, Ricky’s leadership of the Disney+ Content & Marketing efforts leading up to and following the launch of Disney+ has been remarkable – and we are so appreciative of his expertise, passion and care. However, the recent company reorganization led to a significant change in Ricky’s role. After a great deal of reflection, he decided it was time to pursue new creative endeavors.
While I am sad to see Ricky go, I understand that great change also brings an opportunity to chart a new course and I humbly respect the choice he has made. I know you all join me in wishing Ricky all the best on his new adventures.
Moving forward, Joe Earley will add Content Curation for Disney+ to his purview and continue to report into Michael Paull. Brian Henderson who oversees Hulu Content Curation will report into Kelly Campbell.
In closing, I want to personally thank Ricky for all of his amazing work. His contributions to the success of the Company and Disney+ will forever be part of our legacy. Below is the note that Ricky sent to his team just moments ago.
With immense gratitude,
After nine years with The Walt Disney Company, and much contemplation over the past several months, I have come to the decision that it is time for me to move on to pursue new creative endeavors. It took much thought and consideration, but with our new structure and the changes to my role, the reorganization does not provide me with the opportunity to do the kind of work I love to do and to continue making the intended impact I have been so fortunate to have achieved at Disney.
It has been a privilege to help create the roadmap to launch Disney+ to fans around the world during the past several years. I’ve met so many personal goals I set out for myself, and, as a company, we’ve achieved far more than I would have ever imagined. None of this would have been possible without the Company’s thoughtful risk-taking and strong focus on creating dynamic entertainment and value for our consumers.
I am incredibly grateful to have had the chance to work for a company that I always dreamed of as a kid — and have been able to play a role in defining its future. The launch of Disney+ was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – and I will never forget the journey we traveled together.
While I will be here through the end of the month to help Rebecca and the senior team with any transition needs, I wanted to take the time now to personally thank all of you as it will be the daily interactions and shared moments with each of you that I will miss most.
Finally, I would be remiss not to share how appreciative I am of the leadership, guidance and support of Rebecca, Kareem, Bob Chapek and Bob Iger for their understanding around this very personal decision of mine to set off on a new adventure.
With great appreciation, admiration and love,
Ricky Strauss Departs Disney After 9 Years; Served As Disney+’s President of Content & Marketing At Launch The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Deadline.