Joe Earley, who was President of Hulu, has been promoted to President of Direct-to-Consumer for Disney Entertainment. Michael Paull, who was previously in that role, is leaving the company.
The move comes after Bob Iger announced the reorganization of the Walt Disney Company into three core business segments: Disney Entertainment, ESPN, and Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products. Earley will report to Alan Bergman and Dana Walden, who were named co-chairs of Disney Entertainment after the shake-up. Their oversight includes the company’s full portfolio of entertainment media and content businesses globally, including its streaming divisions.
According to a press release from the Walt Disney Company, Earley will continue to lead Hulu until a successor is identified. In his new role, “Earley will work closely with content teams around the company to continue to expand the company’s streaming efforts across both Disney+ and Hulu,” the company reports.
Earley joined Disney in January 2019 to oversee Disney+ marketing and operations in the leadup to its hugely successful November launch that year, adding responsibility for content curation in 2021 as the service expanded to dozens of markets worldwide. He was named president of Hulu in January 2022.
“Joe has proven himself to be an extraordinary asset and is uniquely positioned for this role as we guide Disney’s streaming strategy into the future,” Bergman and Walden said. “His vast industry experience and deep understanding of what sets our prestigious portfolio of brands apart will be essential as we build on our robust direct-to-consumer efforts. Joe is a talented, passionate leader, committed to creative excellence, and we look forward to partnering with him in this next chapter.”
Earley previously served as president of The Jackal Group, leading its television, film, commercial theater, and digital divisions, including productions ranging from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo to the MGM animated feature film The Addams Family. He served as a Fox executive for over two decades, including as chief operating officer for Fox Television Group, where he directly oversaw marketing and communications, digital, research, talent relations, scheduling, and audience strategy at Fox Broadcasting Company, and teamed with 20th Century Fox Television’s development, production, business affairs, marketing, and finance leads on strategic initiatives, in addition to overseeing its publicity and talent relations.
Having joined Fox in 1994 as a senior publicist, he rose through the ranks at Fox Broadcasting to become president of Marketing & Communications and then its COO. Earley began his entertainment career in production and development with producer Gale Anne Hurd and spent several years in Media Relations at HBO before moving to Fox.
“Helping launch Disney+ was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and Hulu has been inspiring and rewarding,” said Earley. “I’m incredibly grateful to Dana and Alan for their confidence and the opportunity to lead both of these incredible teams during this time of transformation across the streaming landscape.”
Senior Vice President of Production for Hulu, Mark Levenstein, and Jayne Bieber, senior vice president of Production Management & Operations for Freeform, were among the first executives to be let go in a series of layoffs in March. Former VP of Corporate Communications for The Walt Disney Company, Jeffrey R. Epstein, soon followed. The latest executive to be cut in the first round of Disney layoffs is Marvel Entertainment Chairman Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter, who had a lot to say about his firing earlier today. Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer Alicia Schwarz has also been let go.