On Jan. 9, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Tom Staggs announced several key management changes within its segment of The Walt Disney Company, which oversees Disney’s family travel and leisure experiences. These changes will affect, in addition to other businesses, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fl. and Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif.
George Kalogridis, current president of Disneyland Resort (DL), will become president of Walt Disney World Resort (WDW). Michael Colglazier, current vice president of Disney’s Animal Kingdom at WDW, will become president of DL.
Meg Crofton, who has served as president of WDW since 2006, will continue in her position as president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, U.S. and France. Crofton has held both presidencies concurrently since the global operations position was announced in July 2011 as part of Disney’s restructuring of management roles.
These changes in leadership roles are effective Feb. 1.
“With all that we currently have in flight across our resort destinations in the U.S. and France, the time is right to move forward with this leadership transition,” said Staggs in a prepared statement. “This group of Disney veterans has the knowledge and expertise needed to continue delivering on our legacy of creating unforgettable experiences that our guests have come to know and expect. I would like to thank Meg for her tireless devotion and the extraordinary contributions serving in both positions, and wish George and Michael the best of luck in their new roles. They both bring a wealth of operational expertise, leadership and passion to these roles, which will contribute to the success of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.”
The move completes Crofton’s transition to her new role overseeing operations, which will focus, according to Disney, on “providing strategic oversight of the broader initiatives that impact Disney destinations in the U.S. and France.”
Kalogridis, who has served as president of DL since 2009, brings more than 40 years of experience with the Disney Parks back to WDW as its president. He started his Disney career as busboy at the Contemporary Resort when WDW opened in 1971. He then worked his way up the company, including vice president of Epcot and chief operating officer of Disneyland Resort Paris. Most recently, Kalogridis oversaw DL’s recent expansion, which included the $1 billion-dollar transformation of Disney California Adventure that saw the addition of the 12-acre Cars Land.
Colglazier, who has been the head of Disney’s Animal Kingdom since 2010, has been part of the planning and development for an Avatar-themed land, based on James Cameron’s “Avatar” movies. He has been with the company since 1989.
As a result of Colglazier’s move, Josh D’Amaro will become the vice president of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. He currently serves as vice president of Adventures by Disney.
As Jason Garcia for the Orlando Sentinel reports, several other management changes were also announced in addition to the above changes to leadership roles at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
Claire Bilby, most recently associated with Disney Vacation Club (DVC), will move to Paris as senior vice president, Sales and Marketing Disneyland Paris and Europe. She will report to Leslie Ferraro, executive vice president of Global Marketing and Sales and Philippe Gas, CEO of Euro Disney S.A.S.
As a result of Bilby’s new position, Ken Potrock, will become senior vice president and general manager for DVC and Adventures by Disney. Potrock will report to Karl Holz, president of New Vacation Operations and Disney Cruise Line. Pottrock’s association with Disney includes management roles with Downtown Disney and Disney Sports, the latter of which includes its popular runDisney division and the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.
Tom Wolber, whose work as current senior vice president of Disney Cruise Line included the launch of two new ships, will move to senior vice president of Downtown Disney and Disney Sports.
The rational for these leadership changes is to give Walt Disney Parks and Resorts executives opportunities to broaden their knowledge of the diverse, global businesses and operations that characterize this segment of The Walt Disney Company.