Ravi Ahuja, CFO and president of business operations for Disney’s TV operations, said he plans to leave the company following a restructuring of the business that separated the creative operations from business and distribution.
Ahuja, who came to Disney when it acquired 20th Century Fox, will stay on as a consultant until a new head of operations and finance is named for the new Disney General Entertainment unit, which is headed by Peter Rice.
“With the reorganization of our business and our pivot to wholly focus on the creation of programming while operations of the networks and management of the P&L moved to [the Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution group]. Ravi’s role as president of Business Operations and CFO significantly changed,” Rice said in an email to staff. “As much as I hoped he’d stay on, ultimately he decided to take this change as an opportunity to find a new challenge, and I understand and respect his decision.”
Rice noted that at Fox, Ahuja “was a terrific partner to me in operating our domestic and international sports and entertainment businesses across broadcast, cable, direct-to-consumer and the studios. Ravi played an integral role in the acquisition of the Yankees Network and our positions in Roku, Draft Kings, Aftershock Studios and National Geographic including the setting up of the joint venture.”
The Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution group is headed by Kareem Daniel and oversees Disney’s TV networks and streaming services, including operations and ad sales.
“I am leaving the company to pursue other challenges,” Ahuja said in his own email.
“I have not come to this decision easily. I am very excited about the future of The Walt Disney Company and Disney General Entertainment. This is an amazing company, and ours is a tremendous team. There are very bright days ahead,” Ahuja said.
“Though the impetus for my decision has been the change in my role, I want to relay the pride I feel for helping to put together the group here and what we have accomplished since the Fox deal closed in March of 2019. We have seamlessly melded two big TV companies – Disney|ABC Television and Fox Networks. We have made incredibly popular and culture-defining television. We have a leadership team that works supportively with each other and in the best interests of our company and viewers. We are navigating through a once-in-a-century pandemic, and we are repositioning ourselves for the future of our company and our industry,” he said.
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.