Disney poaches PepsiCo chief Hugh F. Johnston as CFO

Hugh F. Johnston (Source: PepsiCo)

The Walt Disney Company has named ex-PepsiCo chief Hugh F. Johnston chief executive vice president and chief financial officer, effective December 4.

He replaces former CFO Christine McCarthy who leaves Disney after 23 years at the company due to family commitments, and will take over responsibilities of interim CFO Kevin Lansberry.

Johnston will report to Disney boss Bob Iger, and will head the company’s finance operations. This includes corporate real estate, corporate strategy and business development, enterprise controllership, enterprise technology, financial planning and analysis, global product and labour standards, global security, investor relations, risk management, tax, and treasury.

Johnston served 34 years at PepsiCo where he held a variety senior roles including executive vice president of global operations, president of Pepsi-Cola North America; SVP of Transformation and senior vice president.

He was renamed CFO of PepsiCo in 2010 which he has been responsible for providing strategic financial leadership up to now. He also served as vice president at Merck & Co from 1999 until 2002, before returning to PepsiCo. The exec is also a member of the board and chair of the audit committee of Microsoft Corp.

“Hugh’s well-earned reputation as one of the best CFOs in America and his wealth of leadership experience in both financial and operational roles overseeing a diverse portfolio of top global brands make him a perfect addition to Disney’s senior leadership team,” said Iger. “His expertise will serve Disney and its shareholders well as we continue the transformative work we are doing to drive growth and value creation.

“I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to Kevin Lansberry, who stepped into the CFO role on an interim basis earlier this year,” Iger said. “Kevin has provided steady leadership and invaluable counsel to our executive management team, and he will continue to be one of our company’s most important financial leaders as he returns to his role as CFO of our Disney Experiences segment.”

“Disney is such a storied company, with the most beloved brands in the world and a strong financial foundation to support the company of the future that Bob and his team are building,” Johnston said. “Very few companies have withstood the test of time that Disney has, making the company as rare as it is special. I share Bob’s enthusiasm for Disney’s future, and I am incredibly excited to join this management team in this moment of opportunity and possibility.”

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