Head of Disney Consumer Products group steps down
Disney Consumer Products Chairman Andrew P. Mooney has resigned after nearly 12 years with the company.
Mooney announced his departure to the staff in an email Tuesday, saying, "It's never easy to leave a place you love, but today I informed Bob Iger that I’ve made the difficult decision to resign as Chairman of Disney Consumer Products."
The former Nike Inc. executive joined Disney in December 1999, after serving as chief marketing officer for the sports brand. Mooney is credited with creating the Disney Princesses franchise, which now accounts for more than $4 billion in retail sales worldwide.
Under Mooney's leadership, the consumer products group also has built lucrative toy and merchandise businesses around the "Toy Story" and "Cars" films from Disney's Pixar Animation Studios -- but has had less success with the blockbuster "Pirates of the Caribbean" films.
Disney took back its North American Disney Stores from the Children's Place in 2008 and has undertaken an ambitious overhaul to increasee the stores' appeal.
Mooney also is credited with developing products that made Mickey and pals chic for adults, including a Disney Couture fashion line, princess-inspired bridal gowns and Walt Disney Signature furniture.
In the most recent quarter, Disney Consumer Products posted a 32% jump in operating income.
Mooney said he planned to move "to a leadership role with another organization."
The respected executive, who is known for his marketing and operational chops, has chafed under Disney corporate policy, which prohibited him from serving on corporate boards, said a person familiar with the matter. He is also said to disdain "inside games" and was not among the handful of top executives who traveled with Iger, this person said.
Disney Chief Executive Robert A. Iger issued a statement, lauding Mooney's contributions to the company.
"Not only has he consistently delivered business results year after year, but his focus on the Disney brand and the creation of new franchises like Disney Princess will leave a legacy for decades," Iger said.
A representative of the licensing industry trade group expressed surprise at the announcement.
"Personally, I consider him to be one of the smartest executives ever to hit this business," wrote International Licensing Industry Merchandisers Assn. Senior Vice President Martin Brochstein.
-- Dawn C. Chmielewski
Photo of a Disney Store in New York. Credit: Guy Calaf/Bloomberg