More Changes At Disney Online; Luckett Leaving, Maigret To Lead Innovation

Oliver Luckett

So far the top jobs in the *Disney* Online re-org have gone to Disney (NYSE: DIS) newcomers — Mark Walker to head Disney.com, Brooke Chaffin for Moms & Family. But now Jimmy Pitaro, co-president of the Walt Disney Interactive Group and a recent emigre from Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), is going inside to fill the third part of his plan. In a move being announced this afternoon, DigiSynd’s Rob Maigret will head Innovation, a new team functioning as an incubator focused on “imaginative product development.” The first assignment: work with Walker to rethink Disney.com.

Maigret also will lead DigiSynd, the company he co-founded with Oliver Luckett that was acquired by Disney in 2008. Luckett, who remained as CEO following the acquisition, stayed longer than some serial entrepreneurs might in a big company but is leaving to start a new stealth venture, paidContent has learned. The move was confirmed by Disney PR, along with a note stressing Luckett and DigiSynd’s accomplishments as part of WDIG.

DigiSynd specializes in what the company calls “translating brand magic to the social space” for fans, critics and media. To that, you could add translating the potential and reality of social media for some execs at Disney.

Internally, DigiSynd is credited with bringing Disney to Facebook (150 million likes, over 500,000,000 monthly post impressions and millions of social interactions), Twitter (1.5-plus million followers via @disney and @disneypixar; and to enhacing its reach on Youtube (over two billion views across videos it manages).

As for Disney.com, the site went through an expensive major overhaul in 2007 and was reworked again a year later. It has continued to evolve but it is past time for the serious rethink Pitaro and his team promise.

The moves follow last month’s layoffs of some 80 staffers at Disney Online; since the beginning of the year, WDIG has laid off 7 percent of its staff as part of the reorganization by Pitaro and Co-President John Pleasants, who oversees the games side.

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