Meg Crofton, former Walt Disney Workd president and current president of Operations for parks & resorts in the U.S. and France has just announced her retirement in 2015:
After spending 35 years with Disney, Meg Crofton recently shared with her team that she has decided to retire on June 1 of next year. She has served as President, Operations, US and France since 2011, after serving as President of Walt Disney World Resort since 2006. She sat down with us at Chairman’s Corner to talk about her plans.
Why did you decide to retire?
Well, I never really had a plan for retirement. But I did, over the years, develop a couple of guiding principles. One of the most important was that I wanted to leave while I still had plenty of juice left for the next chapter in my life. I didn’t think about it very much until my 60th birthday, which was last year.
Looking back on it, I realize that it was a decision that I came to very gradually and almost not consciously. I loved what I was doing. I had just made a major move across country and was happily embracing my professional and personal growth opportunities and focusing on our parks and resorts in Florida, California and France. But my husband, Rich, has been retired for some time now, and I became increasingly aware that I really wanted to build our new west coast life with him in San Francisco.
I have so much respect and affection for those I am privileged to work with. As much as I will miss them and the many exciting projects ahead for our Company, the pull to start the next chapter of my life is stronger.
What do you want to do in retirement?
I want to continue my “heart” work of mentoring and helping others, enjoy lots of family time, take advantage of all that my new home city and surrounding countryside offers, do more traveling for pleasure and have a flexible calendar. And I am looking forward to doing all of that!
You have worked closely with your leader, Tom Staggs, for a number of years. Here is what he said:
Anyone who knows Meg knows how much she cares about this company and the dedication she has to anything she does. When she told me a while back about her decision to retire, it was clear that there was conviction in her decision. Her face lit up when she talked about how ready she was to start her next chapter with her husband, Rich. I couldn’t be any happier for her.
There are few people within Parks and Resorts who have inspired as many people and made as significant an impact as Meg has. She has devoted her career to nurturing countless cast members, encouraging them to achieve new heights, coaching them to succeed and helping them down the path, no matter where they wanted it to take them. She has amassed innumerable achievements over the years, literally spanning the globe. And for all that she has accomplished and all of whom she has helped, Meg has done it with an amazing sense of grace and humility, which is what I appreciate and respect the most about her.
Meg is not retiring until June 1, 2015, so we will be naming her successor at a later date. We have many more months to celebrate her and wish her well. I am thrilled that she will be working at Parks and Resorts until then.
Meg, any reaction?
I cannot thank Tom enough for his leadership, friendship, kindness, and unwavering support over the years. I am very excited to be a part of and continue working alongside this tremendous team for the months ahead. I intend to be fully present and enjoy every minute of it!
This is such an amazing company! With the passing of every year, I am more aware and grateful for the blessing of working for an organization whose purpose it is to bring happiness to people and give them cherished memories that last a lifetime. I collect wonderful quotes and found this one years ago…”Memory is a child walking along a sea shore. You can never tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things.” We are so fortunate that at Disney it is their memories with us that our Guests store among their treasured things.
I am deeply proud of every moment I have spent here and feel richly blessed to have had a ringside seat to watch our Company’s special brand of magic touch hearts. I am so excited and confident about the future of our company and the direction of Parks and Resorts. Candidly, it is that excitement that makes my decision to retire so bittersweet.