BURBANK, Calif., May 18, 2020—Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), today announced a new Disney Parks, Experiences and Products leadership team that will be led by Josh D’Amaro, who has been named Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.
“I’m incredibly proud of the new leadership team at Parks, beginning with the segment’s Chairman, longtime Disney veteran Josh D’Amaro, and his newly announced team of Jeff Vahle, Ken Potrock, Kareem Daniel and Thomas Mazloum,” said Mr. Chapek. “These talented executives played pivotal roles while leading our exceptional cast members during the largest period of growth in the segment’s history, which included the expansion of our parks and resorts around the world, the addition of new attractions including two highly acclaimed Star Wars-themed lands, and a shift to more personalized experiences for guests. And I am confident that as they assume even greater responsibility and pursue new opportunities, these proven leaders will have an even bigger impact on the future of our company.”
Mr. D’Amaro, who most recently served as President, Walt Disney World Resort, succeeds Mr. Chapek as Chairman, Parks, Experiences and Products. In his new role, Mr. D’Amaro will oversee Disney’s iconic travel and leisure businesses, which include six theme park-resort destinations in the United States, Europe and Asia; a top-rated cruise line; a popular vacation ownership program; and an award-winning guided family adventure business; and Disney’s global consumer products operations, which include the world’s leading licensing business across toys, apparel, home goods, digital games and apps; the world’s largest children’s print publisher; Disney store locations around the world; and the shopDisney e-commerce platform.
“I want to thank Bob for giving me this opportunity, and I look forward to following his record of driving innovation, value and growth at Parks,” Mr. D’Amaro said. “I am honored to be able to lead this newly announced team of exceptional senior leaders as we assume our new roles and continue to deliver unforgettable experiences for our guests. Even during this challenging time, the enthusiasm of our dedicated cast members for what we do is unwavering, and my goal is to bring them back to work as soon as possible so they can continue to create that magic.”
Before being named President of Walt Disney World Resort in 2019, Mr. D’Amaro was President of the Disneyland Resort. Mr. D’Amaro joined Disney in 1998 at the Disneyland Resort and held a number of leadership positions across the company. He served as Senior Vice President of Commercial Strategy for Walt Disney World Resort and also led the sites’ Resorts & Transportation Operations. He served as Vice President of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park as it underwent the largest expansion in its history. His other roles included Adventures by Disney; Sales and Travel Operations at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort; Finance for the Global Licensing division of Disney Consumer Products; and Business Planning and Strategy Development for the Disneyland Resort.
Mr. D’Amaro earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Georgetown University.
In conjunction with Mr. D’Amaro being named Chairman, the following key appointments have been made to the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products executive leadership team:
Continuing in roles as part of the executive leadership team for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products are:
Jeff Vahle, President, Walt Disney World Resort
Succeeding Mr. D’Amaro as President, Walt Disney World Resort is Jeff Vahle, a 30-year cast member who most recently served as President, Disney Signature Experiences. In his new role, Mr. Vahle leads a team of talented Cast Members —America’s largest single-site workforce—and will be responsible for all facets of business for the resort, including its four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios) two water parks, 28 resort hotels, four golf courses, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and the Disney Springs entertainment-shopping-dining complex.
“With Walt Disney World approaching its 50th anniversary, there could not be a more gratifying time to be selected for this role and to work with the incredible team responsible for creating magical memories for millions of guests each year,” said Mr. Vahle. “I plan to continue to build on the momentum from Josh’s tenure, bringing even more innovative entertainment and experiences to our guests.”
Mr. Vahle will continue to oversee Facilities & Operations Services for Disney theme parks worldwide, responsible for engineering, maintenance, construction, utilities, manufacturing, sourcing and procurement, safety and health, and asset management programs at the Disney resorts around the world.
In his previous role, Mr. Vahle led several key growth businesses for the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products segment and inspired teams around the world to deliver the Company’s unrivaled brand of family vacations. He oversaw Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, Adventures by Disney, Golden Oak, and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa (collectively called Disney Signature Experiences).
Mr. Vahle began his Disney career in 1990 and is a respected senior executive who is committed to driving creativity and innovation, exceeding guest expectations and delivering long-term business growth. During his career with the Company, he has held a series of high-profile leadership roles in operations, engineering, technology and global support services.
At Disney Cruise Line, Mr. Vahle also oversaw the much-anticipated expansion of Disney’s cruise fleet, with the planned delivery of three new ships, all of them showcasing the immersive family entertainment, enchanting storytelling and unparalleled service for which Disney is well known.
In addition to his duties with these high-growth vacation businesses, Mr. Vahle is actively involved in the Central Florida community, currently serving as chairman of the board of directors for Give Kids the World and as a member of the Rollins College Board of Trustees.
Mr. Vahle earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University and a master’s degree in business administration from Rollins College.
Ken Potrock, President, Disneyland Resort
Ken Potrock, formerly President, Consumer Products and with nearly 25 years at the Company takes the helm at the Disneyland Resort, as President, Disneyland Resort, overseeing two theme parks (Disneyland and Disney California Adventure), three resort hotels and a 20-acre entertainment, retail and shopping district. Mr. Potrock succeeds Rebecca Campbell, who was named Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and International, for The Walt Disney Company (see press release from The Walt Disney Company for more information).
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to join the remarkable team at Walt Disney’s original park,” said Mr. Potrock. “This Resort holds a special place in the hearts of our Guests around the world – a responsibility that we all take very seriously, and we will continue to build on that foundation by delivering unforgettable experiences, while creating memories that last a lifetime.”
Mr. Potrock joins the Disneyland Resort after more than two decades of leadership experience at Disney Parks. Throughout his career, he has consistently challenged the status quo – enabling a holistic entrepreneurial culture that ensures the unparalleled “Disney Difference” is delivered each day to Guests, consumers and fans.
Mr. Potrock is also well-known for developing, invigorating and transforming numerous Disney properties and businesses to deliver consistent and dynamic growth. Previously he served as the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Disney Vacation Club, the Company’s innovative and fast-growing vacation ownership program, as well as Adventures by Disney, the Company’s award-winning guided group travel business.
In 2015, Mr. Potrock led the dramatic expansion and reimagining of Disney Springs, Walt Disney World’s iconic retail, dining and entertainment district. He was Senior Vice President of Disney Sports Enterprises, where he led the transformative rebranding of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida. Mr. Potrock began his Disney career in 1996 as Vice President, Marketing for Disney Cruise Line, where he helped define and launch the Company’s bold entry into the cruise industry.
Mr. Potrock earned his undergraduate degree in marketing from Washington University in St. Louis and his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Kareem Daniel, President, Consumer Products, Games and Publishing
Kareem Daniel, formerly President, Walt Disney Imagineering Business Operations, Product Creation, Publishing and Games, will take on the role of President, Consumer Products, Games and Publishing, leading the division responsible for extending the Disney brand through at-home experiences in products, publishing and games.
“Uniting the businesses responsible for bringing the magic of Disney into the daily lives of families and fans around the world will allow us to seamlessly extend the stories and characters consumers love across different platforms,” said Mr. Daniel. “I look forward to working with this team to bring Disney franchises to audiences around the world in new and innovative ways.”
Most recently, Mr. Daniel oversaw global design and delivery of all parks, attractions, resort hotels, and cruise ships, managing world-class talent to provide immersive guest experiences with operational excellence. He also led the product development of merchandise including toys, fashion apparel and accessories, home goods, consumables, and health and beauty categories; the creation of video games and interactive products and experiences; and Disney Publishing Worldwide, the world’s largest publisher of children’s books and magazines.
Previously, Mr. Daniel served as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, where he spearheaded key strategic initiatives to drive long-term growth across the division’s retail, licensing, publishing, video games, and digital businesses.
Mr. Daniel also oversaw distribution strategy at Walt Disney Studios, helping to maximize the value of studio content by evaluating traditional business models and emerging digital innovations. Prior to that he was a Director of Corporate Strategy, where he worked on a variety of strategic projects and mergers and acquisitions across The Walt Disney Company.
Mr. Daniel first joined Disney as an MBA intern and later became a senior business planner in Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis. After that, he worked in equity research as well as investment banking at Goldman Sachs, where he specialized in technology, media and entertainment, and telecommunications before returning to Disney.
Mr. Daniel holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, both from Stanford University.
Thomas Mazloum, President, Disney Signature Experiences
Thomas Mazloum, formerly Senior Vice President of Resort and Transportation Operations at Walt Disney World Resort, becomes President, Disney Signature Experiences, which includes Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club and Adventures by Disney.
“I am thrilled to continue my Disney career by joining the businesses renowned for providing personalized and uniquely Disney experiences and delivering world-class guest service,” said Mr. Mazloum. “I cannot wait to bring even more magic to guests on the seas and at our remarkable destinations around the world.”
A veteran of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Mr. Mazloum previously oversaw 28 resort hotels as well as transportation operations that rival mid-sized American cities, at the world’s premier vacation destination, Walt Disney World Resort.
Mr. Mazloum began his Disney career in 1998 as a hotel director for Disney Cruise Line. He was instrumental in launching the Disney Wonder, the second ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, while directing a cast and crew of nearly 700 individuals, representing 52 countries around the world. He then went on to serve as the general manager of Food & Beverage & Special Events at Epcot, where he supervised the park’s diverse restaurant operations and pursued collaborative business opportunities.
Before returning to Disney in 2017, Mr. Mazloum served as the Chief Operating Officer of Crystal Cruise Line.
Born in Austria, Mr. Mazloum received his degree in hotel management and administration in Innsbruck. A life-long learner, Mr. Mazloum has also received several business certifications from such institutions as Cornell University, the Hotel School of Lausanne and the Hotel School of Salzburg.