Following Disney’s merger last June of its consumer products and interactive divisions, and the sudden departure of division co-chair Leslie Ferraro, James Pitaro has been upped to chairman of the division.
Pitaro assumes sole responsibility of the position at Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media (DCPI), while Ferraro has left to pursue marketing and engagement projects after 17 years with the House of Mouse, which also happens to be her first client.
Pitaro will continue to report directly to The Walt Disney Company’s COO Thomas Staggs and chairman and CEO Robert Iger.
Before stepping into the co-chair role at DCPI last year, Pitaro served as president of Disney Interactive, where he led the company’s multiplatform games business and oversaw a suite of web and app experiences. He also led all of Disney’s social media activity and spearheaded digital video projects to extend storylines.
Before joining Disney Interactive in 2010, Pitaro held a number of executive roles, including VP of Yahoo Media, GM of Yahoo Sports, VP/head of business affairs for Yahoo Music, and VP of business affairs for Launch Media.
The move to consolidate its businesses into the Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media division this past summer was made in an effort to better meet changing consumer preferences in a technology-driven marketplace. As part of the merger, a team called DCPI Labs was born with a focus on using cutting-edge technology to create immersive products, and this division will continue to report to Pitaro.
As it starts to see the impact of the Star Wars retail program, sales for Consumer Products & Interactive Media clocked in at US$1.9 billion in Q1 of 2016 – an 8% increase compared to Q1 2015. For fiscal 2015, Disney’s Interactive division saw growth driven by the ongoing success of the Tsum Tsum mobile game and lower product development and marketing costs, primarily at its mobile businesses, which was partially offset by lower operating income from Disney Infinity console games.