According to Wall Street Journal sources, The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger and CFO Christine McCarthy have clashed over how much money Disney spends on content and recent restructuring, leading to her stepping down.
Disney announced yesterday that McCarthy will be stepping down as CFO and taking a medical leave of absence. She will become a Strategic Advisor. Effective July 1, Kevin Lansberry, EVP and CFO of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, will serve as the Interim CFO while Disney searches for a permanent replacement.
After returning to the position of CEO, Bob Iger quickly began restructuring the company and announced a three-segment reorganization in February. The Walt Disney Company was split into Disney Entertainment (including movies, TV, Disney+, and Hulu), ESPN, and Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products. The company also cut approximately 7,000 during three rounds of layoffs this year in an effort to cut $5.5 billion in spending.
According to WSJ’s report, McCarthy wanted Disney Entertainment to be further consolidated to improve profit margins and make a structure more like Netflix’s. This put her at odds with various executives, including Iger.
McCarthy has been with The Walt Disney Company since 2000. In 2015, she was appointed to the CFO position. Her contract was previously set to expire in December 2022 but it was renewed through 2024. She has been a powerful figure in The Walt Disney Company in recent years, pulling the strings behind Bob Chapek’s firing and Bob Iger’s re-hiring, as well as in the firing of Peter Rice.
“Christine McCarthy is one of the most admired financial executives in America, and her impact on The Walt Disney Company during 23 years of dedicated service cannot be overstated,” CEO Bob Iger said of her leaving the company. “She is stepping down from her CFO role as she takes family medical leave, but has graciously offered to move into an advisory position to assist her successor in assuming the duties she has so expertly handled these many years.”
“I am immensely grateful for the opportunity Bob provided me to serve as CFO of this iconic company and am proud of the work my talented team has done to position Disney to capitalize on the business possibilities that lie ahead,” McCarthy said. “Although I am leaving the CFO role, I look forward to helping with the transition and will always be rooting for the success of my extended Disney family, who have shown time and again that determination, teamwork and the pursuit of excellence are an unstoppable combination.”
McCarthy is also known for her controversial quote, “We can cut portion size, which is probably good for some people’s waistlines,” back when Disney Parks stated they may reduce food portion sizes in order to increase profits.
McCarthy’s sudden departure and the search for a new CFO could mean the Board of Directors will extend Iger’s contract to avoid searching for a new CEO, too.