Walt Disney has a named a veteran movie executive to run its theatrical film division. Ricky Strauss has been named president of marketing for The Walt
Disney Studios. He replaces MT Carney, who had a short 18-month reign on the job. Carney came from Naked Communications, a New York-based media planning/strategic agency.
Strauss, who will report to Rick Ross, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, had been president of Participant Media. He headed up marketing, production and acquisition for the film company, including last summer’s hit "The Help." He also worked on "The Kite Runner," "The Visitor" and Steven Soderbergh-directed "Contagion."
Ross praised Strauss' 25-year movie industry experience -- a direct contrast to the reasons Carney was hired. "He brings a deep understanding of all aspects of the film business as well as incredible skill in branding and cutting-edge marketing," stated Ross.
Ross put Carney in the chief marketing post in April 2010 after his ascension to the top studio job in October 2009, coming from president of Disney Channels Worldwide. It was his attempt to get an outside marketer's perception in an effort to change some of the way movies are marketed. Insiders say Carney could not adapt to the film industry's fast-moving marketing/media decisions. Prior to Disney, she was with New York City-based media planning and strategy firm Naked Communications.
But this wasn't the first time the movie business looked to an outsider.
Arthur Cohen had a long 14-year run -- 1989 to 2003 -- as president of worldwide marketing at Paramount Pictures, coming from Revlon. Disney itself turned to John Cywinski, a former Burger King executive, in 1996. He lasted three years before moving to an executive marketing position at McDonald's Corp.
Prior to joining Participant Media in 2005, Strauss founded Sony-based Ricochet Entertainment, where he executive-produced the Cameron Diaz film "The Sweetest Thing." Before that, he spent 16 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment, where he served as a senior marketing executive for its Columbia/TriStar Pictures unit.