Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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How Dana Walden Overcame Prejudice to Become the First Female CEO of Disney

A captain of the entertainment and media industries recognized something in Dana Walden in 1994 that led him to believe she could play a more significant role. That could happen once more thirty years from now.

Peter Chernin, the president of 20th Century Fox Filmed Entertainment at the time and subsequently the president and chief operating officer of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., was the executive who made the initial appearance. Chernin hired Walden for a TV position after she was taken out of Fox’s corporate communications department.

Those familiar with the process say that in 2024, the executive is Disney CEO Bob Iger, and the role he is considering Walden for is that of his successor. With her appointment, Walden would become the Walt Disney Company’s first female CEO in its 100-year history.

To get his attention, Walden decided to be bold. She told Fox executives, including Chernin, that they weren’t aggressive enough to secure top talent. Fox needed to take more giant swings to generate relationships and land shows that could make it to syndication, Walden argued. A spokesperson for Walden confirmed the details of the presentation.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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