Walt Disney Studios Chairman Rich Ross is out after 30 months in the office. After the failure of two high-profile Mars projects – last year’s “Mars Needs Moms” and the more recent $200 million write-off “John Carter” – it was expected heads would roll over at the Mouse House. That Ross got the chop isn’t really a surprise, especially since marketing head MT Carney’s departure at the start of the year.
Ross, who turned Disney Channel into a global powerhouse, was promoted to the role in October 2009 after succeeding the widely liked and respected Dick Cook who had held the position for seven years. At the time many wondered how a TV executive would handle running a major movie studio – badly it would seem as he kicked out several experienced division heads and gutted much of the marketing and publicity divisions.
While last year’s “Alice in Wonderland” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” were big hits for the company last year, both were green lit under Cook’s run. Ross famously was reluctant giving the green light on projects which has lead to an extremely anaemic upcoming schedule for the company aside from its animation division, Dreamworks titles, Marvel titles and the few tentpoles that have gone ahead like “The Lone Ranger,” “Maleficent”.
No new name has been announced for the position thus far, though the likes of Stacey Snider, John Lasseter and Kevin Feige are currently being tossed about by speculators.