Disney boss Rich Ross quits

Did John Carter losses tip the balance?

by Jennie Kermode

Disney chairman Rich Ross resigned yeserday after three years at the helm and a total of 15 years with the company. But did he jump, or was he pushed?

"I no longer believe that the Chairman role is the right professional fit for me," Ross told his staff, suggesting that he will seek another role in which he can use his talents to the full. He was praised by CEO Bob Iger and remains well liked within the company. It is said that the franchise-building strategy he developed for the company, with hits like High School Musical and the Hannah Montana films, will remain a key part of Disney's business model despite the studio cutting its output by 50% this year.

Despite this, it looks like the failure of one of those franchise ideas, John Carter, may have been a key factor in Ross' decision to quit. The film lost a total of $200M, giving Disney an anticipated second quarter loss of $120M despite successes elsewhere. Despite this, shares continue to do well as the studio is buoyed up by its merchandising arm. Ironically for a company that has produced some of the best-loved films in history, analysts now consider its film-making to be the weakest part of its business.

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