Disney Restructures DMED Tech Teams
CTO Aaron LaBerge adds new technologists to his leadership team
LOS ANGELES—Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED) Technology has added several new executives to its leadership ranks and restructured its tech teams as part of an ongoing effort to speed up innovation and Disney’s growth.
The realignment creates eight core groups within the DMED Technology group: Advertising Platforms, Business Operations, Consumer Experiences & Platforms, Content Operations, Content Platforms, Design, Engineering Services, and Media Engineering.
In addition to the structural changes, DMED Technology’s executive vice president and CTO, Aaron LaBerge announced that three new technologists—Oke Okaro, Jen Schwarz, and Mike White—would be joining his senior leadership team.
DMED Technology is one of the major business segments of The Walt Disney Company. It brings together product, technology and commercialization teams that are responsible for next-generation DTC and linear distribution, advertising technology, engineering, operations, and Disney’s digital product portfolio. It includes thousands of technologists in software, platform, product, and service teams.
“This new alignment recognizes where our Company is today, where it is going tomorrow, and positions us to continue Disney’s legacy of using technology to bring amazing stories and products to consumers everywhere, drive businesses and power innovation” LaBerge said.
Among the new members of the leadership team, Okaro joins as senior vice president, business operations, DMED Technology, leading the team that will partner with DMED businesses, to deliver global program and project management, capital and portfolio management, investment and resource prioritization and other key functions.
Schwarz joins as senior vice president of engineering services DMED Technology. The newly-created role will lead a team that provides connectivity and services across all of DMED Technology.
White joins as senior vice president of consumer experiences and platforms, DMED Technology, leading engineering and product development teams responsible for the creation, development and growth of DMED Technology’s digital product portfolio. These include more than 90 sites and native applications that reach more than 380 million consumers worldwide each month from such brands as ABC, ABC News, Disney.com and Disney Now, ESPN, FX, Marvel, National Geographic, and Star Wars.
In addition to these new members of LaBerge’s leadership team, the division’s CTO has tapped several other executives for expanded roles, including Mike Andrews, Tagu Kato, Chris Lawson and Michael Pollard.
Jeremy Helfand will continue to lead the group’s Ad Platforms team, as senior vice president of Ad Platforms, DMED Technology, managing the development of advertising technology and products in collaboration with Disney Advertising Sales.
Andrews will lead the new Content Platforms team as senior vice president of content platforms at DMED Technology.
Kato will head up a new, centralized Design team as the vice president of design at DMED Technology.
Lawson has been elevated to the newly created role of senior vice president of content operations at DMED Technology.
Pollard has been elevated to senior vice president of media engineering.
Along with these changes, John Heerdt (previously senior vice president media engineering) will move into an advisory position to LaBerge and Pollard until the end of 2021, when he will retire.
The company praised Heerdt for over 20 years of service, where he “helped the company stay steps ahead of the industry and prepare for the future of television and media by advancing its strategic development of facilities and innovations in systems engineering.”
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George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.