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Disney names first brand chief as Iger refocuses on core properties


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Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The Walt Disney Company is looking to update its image.

On Thursday, the company named Asad Ayaz as its first-ever chief brand officer, a position that will require the Disney vet to create a singular vision of the company for marketing campaigns.

Ayaz’s appointment comes as Iger, newly returned to the House of Mouse, has begun reorganizing the company’s structure to put content production, streaming and marketing in the hands of creators. He is also seeking to cut $5.5 billion in costs. The company also recently rolled out its first wave of layoffs as it seeks to cut 7,000 jobs this year.

Iger has said he plans on paring back Disney’s general entertainment content while maintaining a focus on streaming.

On Wednesday, the company tapped Joe Earley to take over the role of president of direct-to-consumer for Disney Entertainment. He replaces Michael Paull, and leaves his post as president of Hulu.

The new appointment also comes a week after Disney laid off Marvel Entertainment Chairman Ike Perlmutter. Perlmutter, however, Told the Wall Street Journal that he was fired for pushing too aggressively to cut costs and for clashing with creative executives.

Ayaz will continue as president of marketing for Walt Disney Studios, where he has overseen marketing and publicity for the studio’s films and TV series, as well as Disney+, since 2018.

“Asad is an exceptional creative leader with a deep understanding of what Disney means to millions of people around the world,” CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “His taking on this role is particularly noteworthy and consequential as we commemorate our historic 100th anniversary, and I am confident that his strategic, operational, and creative prowess, along with his profound passion for Disney, will make him an outstanding steward of our stories, characters, brands, and franchises.”

Ayaz has handled massive marketing projects for Disney before. Over his 18 years with the company he developed and led marketing campaigns for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Black Panther” and “Avatar: The Way of Water.” He is responsible for the marketing of 13 of the top 15 box office debuts of all time, including the biggest worldwide debut ever: “Avengers: Endgame,” which tallied $1.2 billion in its first five days in theaters.

He will oversee the Disney100 campaign, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the company.

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