Christine McCarthy, the Walt Disney (DIS) Company’s chief financial officer, is departing after 23 years, Disney announced yesterday (June 15). Kevin Lansberry, the chief financial officer for Disney’s parks, experiences and products division, will take the executive role in the interim.
McCarthy cited family medical leave as her reason for stepping down. Her husband has been in a healthcare facility since the beginning of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported. She will continue to work as a strategic advisor to Disney and will help choose her successor. As interim CFO, Lansberry will oversee the financial structure of the company, including real estate, taxes, risk management and investor relations, according to a company statement. He will begin the role on July 1.
“Christine McCarthy is one of the most admired financial executives in America, and her impact on The Walt Disney Company during 23 years of dedicated service cannot be overstated,” CEO Bob Iger said in the statement.
In recent months, McCarthy clashed with Iger on company strategy, including Disney’s content spending and recent restructuring, according to the Journal. Disney has one of the highest content budgets in the industry, estimated at around $30 billion for 2023. Iger also reorganized the company into three segments earlier this year—parks and products, ESPN and Disney Entertainment, which includes television and streaming. McCarthy reportedly advocated for a leaner model to improve profit margins. Disney’s stock dipped 2 percent to $91.60 per share following the announcement.
Who is Christine McCarthy?
McCarthy joined Disney in 2000 as treasurer. She worked in various treasurer positions until 2015 when the company promoted her to CFO. With that move, she became the highest-ranking woman in Disney’s history. At the time, women held 12.2 percent of the CFO positions in the S&P 500, according to Crist Kolder Associates, a recruiting firm that has been tracking the data since 2004. The percentage of women in c-suite roles has been slowly climbing, with women occupying 16.3 percent of CFO roles last year.
During her eight years as CFO, McCarthy worked through a period of rapid change at the company. Disney launched its streaming services Disney+ and ESPN+ in that time, and it became the majority owner of Hulu. It also purchased 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion, representing the biggest acquisition in company history and one of the largest in all of media. She also reportedly shepherded one of the biggest CEO coups in recent history when Iger, the retired chief executive, replaced the acting executive he hand-selected.
“I am immensely grateful for the opportunity Bob provided me to serve as CFO of this iconic company and am proud of the work my talented team has done to position Disney to capitalize on the business possibilities that lie ahead,” McCarthy said in a statement.
Before Disney, McCarthy worked as the CFO for , a financial services company, and as the executive vice president of finance for First Interstate Bancorp, a bank holding company that has since been acquired by Wells Fargo. She also serves on boards for Procter & Gamble and FM Global, an insurance company.
Who is Kevin Lansberry?
As CFO of Disney’s largest business segment, Lansberry oversees financial planning for theme parts, resorts, cruises and products. He has worked in this position since 2017 but has been at the company for more than three decades. He has held an array of positions in that time, including vice president of Animal Kingdom, senior vice president of worldwide travel and senior vice president of revenue management and analytics.
He “is a trusted lieutenant to Christine (McCarthy),” Iger said in the statement. “He has my complete confidence, and I look forward to working with him during this transition.”