Walt Disney Co. CFO Christine McCarthy is stepping down from her role to take a family medical leave of absence, the company said Thursday.

Veteran Disney executive Kevin Lansberry, executive vp and CFO of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, will serve as interim CFO, effective July 1. The company will now begin an “internal and external” search for a permanent CFO, with McCarthy agreeing to serve as a “strategic adviser” during her leave, helping to onboard whomever her successor is.

“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,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “Christine has served as a key strategic anchor during a period of great transformation, and she and I have discussed her desire to ensure an orderly and successful CFO succession in advance of the company’s transition to its next chief executive officer. She is stepping down from her CFO role as she takes family medical leave, but has graciously offered to move into an advisory position to assist her successor in assuming the duties she has so expertly handled these many years.”

Added McCarthy, “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. Although I am leaving the CFO role, I look forward to helping with the transition and will always be rooting for the success of my extended Disney family, who have shown time and again that determination, teamwork and the pursuit of excellence are an unstoppable combination.

A Disney veteran, McCarthy joined the company in 2000 as its treasurer, being named to the CFO role in 2015. McCarthy was one of Iger’s principal deputies, joining him on earnings calls, where she broke down Disney’s finances for analysts.

She was also one of only a handful of Iger’s lieutenants to stay on when Bob Chapek took over as CEO in 2020.

While she worked closely with Iger during his first tour as CEO, her backing of Chapek (and many of his strategic maneuvers) had raised eyebrows, with sources telling The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year that the Nelson Peltz activist fight may have been a big reason that McCarthy stuck around as long as she did after Iger’s return.

Peltz ultimately abandoned his fight after Disney reported strong earnings in February, in which Iger laid out his turnaround plan.

McCarthy’s contract had been extended in 2021 through June 2024. According to a securities filing Thursday, McCarthy will continue to be employed by the company through that date, albeit in her strategic adviser role. Her compensation will remain unchanged (she was paid more than $20 million in fiscal 2022).

Lansberry, meanwhile, will relocate from Orlando, Florida, to Disney’s corporate headquarters in Burbank, with the company set to provide housing and a pay bump consisting of a $1 million base salary, a $1 million annual target bonus, and $3 million in a long-term incentive plan.

 

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