Buena Vista Shuffles Video Chiefs, Units
as been named at the video sales, marketing and distribution arm of Walt Disney Co., as the company reshapes its home video entities.
The company has merged its domestic home video division, Buena Vista Home Video, with its international counterpart, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, and named Michael O. Johnson as president of the combined units, which will be named Buena Vista Home Video Worldwide, said Joe Roth, chairman of Walt Disney Studios.
Johnson had been president of the international division for the past five years. He will report to Roth.
Ann Daly, president of the domestic division, will step down in September at the end of her contract. Daly's departure from Disney appears to be amicable, but few details were available at press time. She joined Disney in 1984 and was named the division's president in 1992.
"Ann has done a superb job of managing the home video business domestically," said Roth. "During her tenure, Buena Vista has revolutionized the home video business, making the purchase and ownership of videocassettes part of the American culture. We wish her well in her new activities."
Daly is widely regarded as one of the most influential and creative leaders in the home video industry. She has been a central player in the development of video in supermarkets and in the sell-through business overall, industry observers said. She is the most prominent female executive in the video business and perhaps its most powerful leader, they added.
Reports indicated that after 13 years at Disney, Daly may be headed to work for a Disney competitor. One possibility is Fox, where one of her former mentors, Bill Mechanic, is now studio chairman. Another is DreamWorks, where one of the principals, Jeffrey Katzenberg, is the former Disney Studios chairman. Katzenberg has been quoted as saying that he is doing "anything and everything" to hire Daly.
Johnson, 42, has been responsible for the international acquisition, marketing, sales and distribution of movies and interactive entertainment products. He came to Disney in 1986 as director of international sales, and became a vice president the following year, senior vice president in 1990, and president in 1992.
Under Johnson, Buena Vista has expanded from 34 international markets in 1986 to 80 markets today. Internationally, the company has a 50% market share in home video.
"This merger will bring our two organizations together for one collective goal, combining many talented people with expertise in both the domestic and international home video markets," said Johnson. "It's a classic example of synergy that will create greater business opportunities for us to explore and more efficient ways for us to explore them."
Roth said the combined organization will be better able to serve the needs of its customers. He added, "With worldwide contacts and expertise in marketing, sales and distribution, Michael Johnson is ideally suited to bring together and manage these two highly successful organizations. The new business unit will be an extremely powerful organization, playing a major role in Disney's growth."