Thomas Staggs has been named COO of The Walt Disney Company, positioning him as likely successor to incumbent Bob Iger.
Staggs assumes the role while retaining his post as Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman until a replacement is found.
The move means he is know perfectly positioned to succeed Iger in mid-2018, when his current contract expires and he retires, as has been widely tipped.
It also throws a question mark over the future of Disney CFO Jay Rasulo, who has also been mentioned as potential heir to Iger.
Disney’s senior management – with the exception of Rasulo, its general counsel, chief communications officer and HR boss – will now jointly report to Iger and Staggs.
Staggs joined Disney in 1990, and rose through the ranks to run the theme parks business having previously been senior executive VP and CFO of the wider group.
He is credited with playing key roles in the acquisitions of Capital Cities/ABC, Pixar Animation Studios and Marvel Entertainment.
“Tom is an incredibly experienced, talented and versatile executive who has led Parks and Resorts during a time of unprecedented growth and expansion, including the construction of Shanghai Disney Resort,” said Iger.
“His proven ability to lead a business as well as his successful tenure as Disney’s former CFO make him an ideal chief operating officer, expanding his portfolio into all the company’s businesses.”