September 28, 2022
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Dana Walden Takes Charge of Disney’s Entertainment Unit

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Industry veteran Dana Walden has taken charge of entertainment giant The Walt Disney Company’s (DIS) entertainment unit and is expected to keep pace with the company’s digital transformation journey.

Earlier this month, Peter Rice was let go from the company as the Chairman of General Entertainment Content. The exit of Rice came as a surprise shortly after extending his contract by three years. Earlier this year, Disney’s Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications Executive, Geoff Morrell, also resigned from his post.

Due to a challenging period for broader markets, the company has seen top leadership exits; the spill out of the ‘Parental Rights in Education’ bill on its Special tax district; and heated competition in the streaming arena. Disney shares are down almost 40% so far in 2022.

Dana Walden has been the deputy for the man whose shoes she is stepping into. The Wall Street Journal notd Disney CEO, Bob Chapek’s praise for Dana Walden who, “Has a well-earned reputation for championing creative talent and developing programming that truly captures the cultural zeitgeist.”

Walden, a former Fox executive, is known for being involved in hit shows including The Dropout, Modern Family, and How I Met Your Mother. She ascended from public relations to lead the television studio and network at Fox. At Disney, she will now look to keep the company’s focus on content and streaming services as over 300 shows will now come under her purview.

Analysts’ take

Deutsche Bank’s Bryan Kraft has reiterated a Buy rating on the stock while decreasing the price target to $130 from $191. Overall, the Street has a Moderate Buy consensus rating on Disney alongside a price target of $147.35, implying a 56.22% potential upside.

Blogger Opinions

Further, blogger opinions and sentiment also remain Bullish about the stock despite the recent corporate exits and tussle. Notably, 88% of the bloggers covering Disney are Bullish about it, compared to a sector average of 65%.

Closing Note

CEO Bob Chapek has put his faith in Walden, whose stellar career puts her in good stead. Disney has been delivering a string of popular shows on Disney+ as well as Hulu, which just might be the prologue to better chapters in the months to come.

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