Kevin Mayer Leaves Disney for TikTok, Chapek Regime Rejigs
Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake
Kevin Mayer, once widely considered Bob Iger's heir apparent at The Walt Disney company, will become chief executive of TikTok and chief operating officer of ByteDance, TikTok's Beijing-based parent company.
Rebecca Campbell, a 23-year Disney veteran who was most recently president of Disneyland Resort, will replace Mayer as chairman of direct-to-consumer and international, the company reported. Disney also announced that Josh D'Amaro, previously president of Walt Disney World Resort, will become chairman of Disney's parks, experiences and product – the role formerly held by Bob Chapek, who succeeded Iger as Disney chief executive in February.
That selection of Chapek precipitated expectations around Hollywood that Mayer – who had overseen a successful launch of Disney's streaming service, Disney Plus, and had previously helped orchestrate Disney's acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox – would likely look elsewhere for his next move.
More surprising than Mayer's exit is the appointment of Campbell to fill his shoes. The coronavirus crisis has clobbered Disney, but the company's prior decision to invest heavily in tech – epitomized by its acquisition of BAMTech, subsequently spun off into Disney Streaming Services, which powers Disney Plus – has been a relative saving grace. While Campbell oversaw the launch of Disney Plus in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the majority of her experience has been in the legacy business of Disney's ABC television unit. Campbell now helms the most future-oriented piece of the conglomerate, which despite its strong start must contend with fierce competition from tech giants like Netflix, Apple and Amazon. With Cambell and D'Amaro moving up the ranks, Chapek appears to be installing a new regime of executives whom he has worked with before; both will report directly to the new CEO.
Mayer, meanwhile, goes onto one of the hottest media companies around. His experience with M&A should serve him well as COO of ByteDance, and his Disney Plus reign should prove useful for capitalizing on the momentum of the social media app that has reportedly been downloaded over two billion times. Mayer is also inheriting a company, however, that has been under increased scrutiny, including a complaint filed last week to the U.S. FTC that it is openly flouting child privacy protections.
Sam Blake covers media and entertainment for dot.LA. Find him on Twitter @hisamblake and email him at sam.blake@dot.LA
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SpaceX launched two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station today, becoming the first company to send humans to orbit on a commercial spaceship.
The Falcon 9 rocket's liftoff from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:22 p.m. ET (12:22 p.m. PT) marked a feat that America hadn't been able to perform since NASA retired its space shuttles in 2011: launching American astronauts on an American rocket from American soil.
Lots happened in the L.A. tech and startup community this week. In a rundown of the top headlines, Chief Host and Correspondent Kelly O'Grady takes you through the key stories:
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Coronavirus Updates: Netflix Buys Egyptian Theatre for Post-Pandemic Premiers; TrueCar Lays Off Staff
Here are the latest headlines regarding how the novel coronavirus is impacting the Los Angeles startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for the latest updates.
- Facing twin threats, TrueCar lays off 40 percent of staff
- Netflix buys Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre to stage post-pandemic events, movie premieres
Facing twin threats, TrueCar lays off 40 percent of staff<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjgzMzYzNi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMzg5MjUyMX0.Wx6LVxNhx4WbcMFiQkuylQLs5AO2G-_4iQtc61SrdRQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="dc12e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f06205606520be18d44ae28069fd271e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p>Santa-Monice based TrueCar laid off 219 employees Thursday, which represents 40 percent of its workforce. The cuts are partly a reaction to Covid-19 and fewer people buying cars. They are also a response to the loss of a crucial partnership with USAA that expires at the end of September. That deal accounted for 29% of cars sold last year. </p><p>The cuts will save TrueCar $35 million a year, according to an analyst note from JMP Securities. </p><p>While TrueCar would seem to benefit from car shoppers wanting to have less face-to-face contact at dealerships, the company is not immune from the large pressures the industry is facing. With that said, auto sales have bounced back more quickly than analysts anticipated. </p><p>"With website traffic and purchase intent returning to pre-COVID-19 levels for the last two weeks of April and these trends continuing into May (and likely June), auto's recovery has surprised us," wrote Andrew Boone, vice-president at JMP Securities. </p>
Netflix buys Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre to stage post-pandemic events, movie premieres<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM1NDU2NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwMDAzNzAxMn0.5nzkeqvFWx6-IduqjB4jCvwwfc9n2uLSieXjpOj7i-E/image.jpg?width=980" id="e09dd" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d367203996d299149d47684f5b2122e1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
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