Disney finance chief Christine McCarthy to step down as Iger reshapes the company

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Christine McCarthy, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, The Walt Disney Company, participates in a panel discussion during the annual Milken Institute Global Conference at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 29, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.
Michael Kovac | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Christine McCarthy, Disney’s chief financial officer, will step down from that role, the entertainment giant said Thursday.

She will take a family medical leave of absence and during that time continue as a strategic advisor to Disney, the company said. McCarthy will also help find a long-term successor, Disney added. Kevin Lansberry, the finance chief for Disney’s parks business, will work as the company’s interim CFO effective July 1.

“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 in a news release.

McCarthy, who started with Disney in 2000 and became CFO in 2015, departs as the Disney undergoes a broad restructuring during Bob Iger’s second tenure as CEO. The company has targeted 7,000 job cuts during several rounds of layoffs this year.

Disney has also contended with a tougher ad market for media companies and struggled to set itself apart in a crowded streaming space. In its fiscal second quarter, Disney reported operating losses of $659 million for its direct-to-consumer segment.

During McCarthy’s tenure, Disney’s streaming spending skyrocketed and free cash flow fell. For a while, that was fine. Disney’s stock got a bump as Disney+ subscribers soared. But when the balloon popped on streaming valuations in 2022, she needed to change strategies. And that is still a work in progress.

McCarthy also emerged as a pivotal figure during last year’s upheaval, which saw Iger return to replace his successor as CEO, Bob Chapek. During Chapek’s tenure, she moved toward his inner circle, only to reportedly turn on him, which proved to be the final straw in his tenure.

But Iger has loyalists at that company, and McCarthy’s move toward Chapek showed she wasn’t in that camp. So she never had the same status internally as being trusted by Iger as others, according to people familiar with the matter.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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