Ricky Strauss Exits Disney+ in Wake of Streaming-Centric Restructure
Ricky Strauss, who has managed content at fast-growing streamer Disney+ as president of programming and content curation, is exiting the company after nine years.
The move, which Strauss and Disney international and direct-to-consumer chairman Rebecca Campbell announced in internal staff memos today, comes months after a major reorganization at the House of Mouse that positioned streaming at the center of the company and elevated Disney vet Kareem Daniel to head up the media and entertainment division.
The decision to leave, Strauss said the memo, was a direct result of that reorganization.
“After nine years with The Walt Disney Company, and much contemplation over the past several months, I have come to the decision that it is time for me to move on to pursue new creative endeavors,” he wrote. “It took much thought and consideration, but with our new structure and the changes to my role, the reorganization does not provide me with the opportunity to do the kind of work I love to do and to continue making the intended impact I have been so fortunate to have achieved at Disney.”
Joe Earley, evp of Disney+ marketing and operations—and one of Adweek’s 2020 Brand Geniuses—will take over in the content curation role at the streamer, reporting to Disney+ president Michael Paull, Campbell said. Brian Henderson, who oversees content curation for Hulu, will now report to Hulu president Kelly Campbell amid the changes.
Strauss’s departure comes as Disney has enjoyed astonishing early success in its push into streaming. Disney+ last month cleared 86 million subscribers and announced plans to raise its prices and push into the international market even more aggressively with a general entertainment offering under the company’s Star brand in a December presentation to investors.
It is also investing heavily in content: Disney+ said it will release 10 Star Wars series, 10 Marvel series and dozens more projects from various other company divisions over the next several years.
Strauss has spent three decades in the entertainment industry, and he was instrumental in the rollout of Disney+ as president of content and marketing at the streamer ahead of its debut and in its earliest months. Before that, he served as head of marketing for Walt Disney Studios, where he oversaw the global marketing strategy for blockbusters like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Guardians of the Galaxy, Maleficent, Frozen and Moana. Prior to joining Disney in 2012, he spent nearly a decade at Participant Media.