In a whirlwind of Disney’s streaming leadership-position ranks, the giant company is moving the President of Hulu, Joe Earley, into the role of President of Direct-to-Consumer for Disney Entertainment effective immediately, based on a report from Variety. He succeeds Michael Paull, who is leaving Disney after six years.
Earley will lead Disney Entertainment’s streaming businesses including Disney+ and Hulu, reporting directly to co-chairmen Alan Bergman and Dana Walden. Earley was a former longtime Fox executive, having joined Disney in 2019 with the launch of Disney+. In addition, Earley will also continue his role as top executive in charge of Hulu until the company is able to appoint a replacement.
Disney+ is led by president Alisa Bowen, who was promoted to the position last fall after overseeing global business operations for Disney’s streaming platforms.
Paull, formerly an Amazon digital video executive, was originally CEO of BAMTech, a video-streaming company previously co-owned by Disney, Major League Baseball, and the NHL.
“Joe has proven himself to be an extraordinary asset and is uniquely positioned for this role as we guide Disney’s streaming strategy into the future,” Bergman and Walden said in a joint statement. “His vast industry experience and deep understanding of what sets our prestigious portfolio of brands apart will be essential as we build on our robust direct-to-consumer efforts. Joe is a talented, passionate leader, committed to creative excellence, and we look forward to partnering with him in this next chapter.”
In addition, Earley commented, “Helping launch Disney+ was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and Hulu has been inspiring and rewarding. I’m incredibly grateful to Dana and Alan for their confidence and the opportunity to lead both of these incredible teams during this time of transformation across the streaming landscape.”
Having returned as CEO back in November, Bob Iger formed the Disney Entertainment Business unit headed by Walden and Bergman as part of a broader reorganization that completely dismantled the former Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution division.
This change in leadership came less than a year before the company was to decide whether to buy out Hulu from Comcast, sell its stake or spin the streamer off.
Starting in January 2024, Disney can require Comcast to sell its 33% stake in Hulu, and can even force Comcast to make the sale.
The streaming landscape “is very, very tricky right now and before we make any big decisions about our level of investment, our commitment to that business, we want to understand where it could go,” Iger said last month at an investor conference.