Walt Disney Co. Names PepsiCo’s Hugh Johnston as Chief Financial Officer

Walt Disney Co. Names PepsiCo’s Hugh Johnston as Chief Financial Officer – On Monday, the company announced that Hugh Johnston, a veteran executive from PepsiCo (PEP) with 34 years of experience, will assume the role of Senior Executive Vice President and CFO at the media giant, starting on December 4. 

During his tenure at PepsiCo, Johnston held various leadership positions, including a CFO role for over a decade. Notably, he served as CFO when PepsiCo successfully defended against activist investor Nelson Peltz’s attempt to break up the company. Currently, Peltz is advocating for multiple board seats at Disney, and the company’s stock has reached historic lows. 

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“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,” Iger said in a press release.

“His expertise will serve Disney and its shareholders well as we continue the transformative work we are doing to drive growth and value creation.” In June, Disney’s former CFO, Christine McCarthy, stepped down from her role, citing a family medical leave of absence. McCarthy, who enjoyed a close relationship with Bob Iger, had held the position of Disney’s CFO for eight years and played a crucial role as a strategic advisor in the search and transition process for a permanent successor. 

During her absence, Kevin Lansberry, the Executive Vice President and CFO of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, assumed the role of interim CFO. “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 in a statement following the announcement.

“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,” he continued. Disney has been taking strategic actions in anticipation of its highly awaited earnings announcement scheduled for this Wednesday.

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The company officially announced its acquisition of Comcast’s (CMCSA) 33% ownership in the streaming platform Hulu last week. According to the terms of the deal, Disney is set to remit at least $8.61 billion to Comcast’s NBCUniversal by December 1, marking the minimum amount owed to Comcast for their stake in the streaming service.

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