Walt Disney Co. Adds Catz, deSouza to Board of Directors

The Walt Disney Co. has elected two new directors to its board: Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle, and Francis deSouza, president and CEO of Illumina.

The elections are effective Feb. 1, 2018, the company said.

Disney is reportedly on the verge of a transformative deal to buy $40 billion in assets from 21st Century Fox to pursue its new direct to consumer video strategy.

“Safra Catz and Francis deSouza are extremely well-respected in their fields, and each brings an innovative and valuable perspective to our business,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger. “Ms. Catz has led Oracle through a period of tremendous growth and innovation since taking the helm in 2014, driving the company’s impressive acquisition strategy and expanding its operations. Mr. deSouza has overseen the development of groundbreaking genomics technology at Illumina that pushes the boundaries of science, significantly impacting the well-being of people around the world.”

Before becoming CEO Catz was CFO at Oracle. She is also a director of HSBC Holdings.

“For almost 100 years, Disney has continued to innovate and deliver an unparalleled customer experience. As technology and entertainment further converge, it’s an exciting time for the company and I look forward to working with the board in continuing Disney’s rich legacy of innovation,” Catz said.

deSouza joined Illumina, a biotech company in 2013. Previously he had been at Symantec.

“At both Disney and Illumina, we have very similar goals: to touch people’s lives. Disney does it through first-class storytelling and Illumina does it through cutting-edge science,” he said.

Jon Lafayette

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.