Walt Disney Television CFO & President Of Business Operations Ravi Ahuja To Exit

Ravi Ahuja, who is president of business operations and chief financial officer at Walt Disney Television, is stepping down.

Ahuja, who was formerly CFO of Fox Networks Group, took the position after Disney’s acquisition of Fox.

“I regrettably am writing to you today to share that Ravi Ahuja has decided to leave the Company to seek out a new adventure.  This is a big loss for me personally and our Company, but I wish Ravi nothing but the best. He has been an amazing strategic and operational partner to not only me but everyone on the leadership team and across the Company,” Peter Rice Chairman of General Entertainment Content for The Walt Disney Company, wrote in an internal email.

The move comes after a major Disney restructure that saw it put its three content divisions – Studios, General Entertainment and Sports – into distinct group.

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Peter Rice became Chairman of General Entertainment Content for The Walt Disney Company, which oversees creating original entertainment and news content for the Company’s streaming platforms and its cable and broadcast networks. Under his oversight are 20th Television, ABC, ABC News, ABC Signature, Disney Channels, Freeform, FX, Hulu Originals, National Geographic and Touchstone Television.

Earlier this month, four weeks after that restructure was unveiled, Rice revealed the structure of his division with Nat Geo’s Courtney Monroe joining direct reports Chairman of Entertainment, Walt Disney Television Dana Walden and President and Chief Creative Officer, Disney Branded Television Gary Marsh.

Rice said that after the restructure, Ahuja’s role “significantly changed”. “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,” he added.

Ahuja said he was leaving to “pursue other challenges”. “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,” he said, adding that the impetus for the decision was the change in his role.

Ahuja will stay on as a consultant until the company identifies a new head of operations and finance. EVP of Strategy and Business Operations Trisha Husson will manage day-to-day operations effective immediately.

“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 added in an internal email.

In role, Ahuja oversaw finance, strategic planning, business development, affiliate sales & distribution, technology, music affairs, consumer insights and labor relations for the division.

Prior to his appointment as CFO at FNG, Ahuja was executive vice president of Business Operations and Development. His group contributed to investments and acquisitions including the National Geographic Partners, YES Network and Sports Time Ohio RSN transactions and in the planning and formulation of Fox Networks’ new channel strategy. Ahuja’s group was also active in new technology initiatives including Hulu and Roku.

Read the memos in full below:

Peter Rice:

Team,

I regrettably am writing to you today to share that Ravi Ahuja has decided to leave the Company to seek out a new adventure.  This is a big loss for me personally and our Company, but I wish Ravi nothing but the best. He has been an amazing strategic and operational partner to not only me but everyone on the leadership team and across the Company.

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 DMED, Ravi’s role as president of Business Operations and CFO significantly changed. 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.

For over a decade, I have had the great pleasure of working side by side with Ravi here at Disney and before that at Fox Networks Group. He is a fantastic operating and financial executive with the perfect balance of strategic vision and practical action, both of which he turns into impressive results. Ravi was pivotal in managing a smooth integration of the Fox television businesses into Disney and then optimizing our operations quickly.

At Fox, he 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. He subsequently served on the boards of the Yankees Network, Roku and National Geographic and helped guide Fox’s position in the Hulu joint venture for over a decade.  For all his brilliance, it’s Ravi’s genuine and congenial consideration that has made him a trusted and valued colleague.

Ensuring a smooth transition, Ravi is going to stay on as a consultant as we identify a new head of operations and finance. He’s built a great team, and we are fortunate that EVP of Strategy and Business Operations Trisha Husson will deftly manage the day-to-day operations, effective immediately. Reporting to Trisha during this interim period will be Peter DiCecco (Music Affairs), Marc Sandman (Labor Relations), Greg Richart (Finance & Business Planning), Karen Sack (FX Finance), Bob Barron (Disney Television Studios Finance), David Cobb (Disney Branded Television Finance), along with the Content Research and first-run Scheduling teams that we previously announced will be joining their organization.

I know many of you share with me a conflicted sadness and respect for this news, a little selfish pity for what we are losing but genuine support for Ravi’s future.

I am enormously grateful for his partnership and friendship. Please join me in wishing Ravi all the best as he takes the next step into what I’m confident will be an incredible future.

Peter

Ravi Ahuja:

Hi all,

As Peter’s note said, I am leaving the company to pursue other challenges. 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.

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.

And I want to thank you all. We have so much talent and so much energy. This is an unstoppable group. For my teams, I have seen you go above and beyond to accomplish so much – very proud of you!

Finally, I want to say a personal, public thank you to my long-time boss, mentor and friend, Peter Rice. I don’t need to tell anyone about how great of a chairman Peter is. We all know that. I have learned so much from Peter every day – about our business, content and, most importantly, leadership. Peter naturally combines a focus on achieving results with empathy for people. He has a truly authentic and genuine concern for everyone and is the same in our small group meetings as at our town halls.

As Peter said, I will stay on as a consultant for a while still so let’s not say goodbye. See you on Zoom sometime soon!

Ravi

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