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Disney (NYSE: DIS) CEO Bob Iger is sticking with the strategy of a combined interactive games, web and mobile group but splitting the job of president, putting the company’s digital future in the hands of newcomers. John Pleasants, the former EA exec who joined Disney’s executive ranks with the recent acquisition of Playdom, and Jimmy Pitaro, the departing head of Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Media, will serve as co-presidents of the Disney Interactive Media Group, the company announced today.
Pleasants will head gaming, including Playdom, from San Francisco; Pitaro has content — including Disney.com, marketing — including DigiSynd, and advertising. Mobile is being split: gaming to Pleasants, non-gaming content, what there is of it, to Pitaro,
The two are replacing longtime interactive head Steve Wadsworth, whose departure as DIMG president was announced in late September; Wadsworth was head of the Walt Disney Interactive Group when WDIG merged with the gaming unit. In addition to trying to build its own gaming business, Disney has invested roughly a billion dollars in acquisitions, including Playdom, Tapulous and virtual world Club Penguin (acquired before gaming and interactive were combined). The idea behind this move: DIMG has all the pieces but to actually make money from it all requires a different approach.
Iger told Kara Swisher (my own interview was torpedoed by communications gone awry), “I think we