Ayo Davis Named Disney Branded Television President

Ayo Davis of Disney Branded Television
Ayo Davis of Disney Branded Television (Image credit: Disney Enterprises/Craig Sjodin)

Disney Branded Television has promoted programming executive Ayo Davis as its new president, succeeding departing president Gary Marsh

Davis, currently executive VP for creative development and strategy for Disney Branded Television, will oversee the operations the company, including programming, strategy, development, casting, business affairs and marketing for scripted, unscripted and animation across Disney Plus, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior.

Davis succeeds Marsh, who earlier this week announced he was leaving the position to launch a new production company. The two will work closely on a transition through the rest of the year, Disney said. 

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Davis, a 20-year Disney veteran, was promoted to her current position in November 2020 after previously serving as executive VP, talent and casting, at ABC Entertainment and Disney Plus. In her most recent position, Davis cultivated a partnership with Kerry Washington’s Simpson Street Productions to adapt Janae Marks’s book From the Desk of Zoe Washington, and attached Eva Longoria and Ben Spector’s UnbeliEVAble Entertainment to Carlos Hernandez’s Sal & Gabi Break the Universe.  She is also responsible for helping to bring in House of Secrets filmmaker Chris Columbus. Davis also collaborates closely with studios across Disney, including 20th Television and ABC Signature.

Davis will report to Disney chairman of General Entertainment Content Peter Rice, who in a statement called Davis “a focused leader” with impeccable creative instincts.

“Her creative eye for talent has made meaningful impact in front of and behind the camera, from iconic shows across our networks that were defined by their casting choices to building a roster of creator talent that will redefine family programming at Disney Branded Television,“ Rice said. ”She’s the absolute perfect person to lead the team at a time they are broadening their remit to develop more family programming across streaming and cable distribution. I’m excited to watch all she will accomplish.”

Added Davis: “I am beyond grateful to Peter Rice and Gary Marsh for their extraordinary leadership, support and mentorship. It’s a tremendous honor to continue Gary’s legacy of delighting kids and families through Disney Branded TV’s unparalleled storytelling, and it’s an amazing time for kids and family programming. I’m thrilled to continue working with my team, colleagues, our TV studios and, of course, the creators who trust us with their projects as we work to develop the next generation of beloved stories and franchises.” 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.