The Walt Disney Co. has named Thomas Staggs as chief operating officer, making him heir apparent to CEO Bob Iger.
Staggs has been with Disney for 25 years and is chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. He will maintain that responsibility until a successor is named.
Under Disney's new management structure, senior management, including all business segment leaders, will report jointly to Iger and Staggs, except for the chief financial officer, general counsel, chief communications officer and chief human resources officer, who will continue to report to Iger.
Iger's contract as CEO was extended by two years in October to run until 2018, lengthening the succession process at the entertainment giant, which runs ESPN, ABC and the Disney channels.
The CFO is Jay Rasulo, who was seen as a candidate for the COO post.
"Tom is an incredibly experienced, talented and versatile executive who has led Parks and Resorts during a time of unprecedented growth and expansion, including the construction of Shanghai Disney Resort," Iger said in a statement. "His proven ability to lead a business as well as his successful tenure as Disney's former CFO make him an ideal chief operating officer, expanding his portfolio into all the company's businesses," Iger said in a statement.
"It's a privilege to step into this role, and I am humbled and honored by the opportunity. I look forward to working more closely with Bob and the talented senior management team across the company to continue to build Disney's future through unparalleled creativity, innovative technology and global expansion," said Mr. Staggs.
Before running the parks unit, Staggs was senior VP and chief financial officer at Disney. He helped with the acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC, Pixar and Marvel.
He joined Disney as manager of strategic planning in 1990.