In another shocker for the Walt Disney Co., Christine McCarthy is stepping down from her role as executive VP and chief financial officer and will take a family medical leave, Disney said Thursday. Kevin Lansberry has been named interim CFO for the media giant as of July 1.
“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. “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.”
McCarthy joined Disney as treasurer in 2000 and was upped to CFO in 2015. She has emerged as an enormously influential lieutenant to Iger. She also played a big role in the shakeup last November that ended Bob Chapek’s two-year tenure as CEO and brought Iger back to the chief executive slot. She is widely admired on Wall Street for her candor in Disney’s financial reporting and her market insights.
“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,” McCarthy said. “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.”
Iger hailed McCarthy’s track record as a mentor to many executives over the years.
“Among her many contributions to the company, one of the things I admire most about Christine is the generous mentorship she has provided to so many of her colleagues over the years, including countless women,” Iger said. “She has opened doors, created opportunities, and served as a role model for women at every level of business – not just at Disney, but around the world.”
Lansberry at present is executive VP and CFO of Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Products unit. He’s held that role since 2017.
“Kevin has been with the company for more than three decades and is a trusted lieutenant to Christine. Having expertly served as CFO at our largest business segment since 2017, he has my complete confidence, and I look forward to working with him during this transition,” Iger said.
McCarthy’s departure comes at a turbulent time for Disney as the company has dealt with major financial strains as it has absorbed billions in losses from building up the Disney+ and Hulu streaming platforms. The company recently implemented layoffs of 7,000 employees from across the company. Disney also grappling with a higher debt ratio than it has shouldered in the past because of its 2019 purchase of 21st Century Fox for $71 billion.