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Ayo Davis named president of Disney Branded Television in run-up to Marsh exit

Ayo Davis has been tapped to succeed Gary Marsh as president of Disney Branded Television.

Ayo Davis

In the role, Davis, who most recently served as executive VP of creative development and strategy at Disney Branded Television, will assume creative and operational leadership of the group, which produces content for Disney+, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior.

Reporting to Disney General Entertainment chairman Peter Rice, she will oversee programming, strategy, development, current, production, casting, business affairs and marketing across scripted, unscripted and animation.

After spending 33 years in a variety of creative and leadership roles at Disney, Marsh revealed this week that he is stepping down to launch his own production company backed by Disney General Entertainment with a multi-year production deal.

Marsh’s exit will come at the end of 2021 and in the interim he and Davis will work closely to ensure a smooth transition.

Davis has been with Disney for nearly 20 years in a variety of roles. Before joining Disney Branded Television, she was executive VP of talent and casting at ABC Entertainment and Disney+, working on series including ABC’s The Good Doctor, American Crime, How to Get Away Murder and black-ish.

She was also integral to the launch of several casting initiatives under the ABC Discovers banner, which aims to discover and create opportunities for emerging talent from around the world. The initiative counts Lupita Nyong’o, Gina Rodriguez and Pedro Pascal among its alumni.

“Ayo is a focused leader with impeccable creative instincts who’s excelled in every role she’s held at Disney,” said Rice in a statement.

“Her creative eye for talent has made a meaningful impact in front of and behind the camera, from iconic shows across our networks that were defined by their casting choices to building a roster of creator talent that will redefine family programming at Disney Branded Television.

“She’s the absolute perfect person to lead the team at a time they are broadening their remit to develop more family programming across streaming and cable distribution. I’m excited to watch all she will accomplish,” he added.

Personnel reporting to Davis in her new role includes: Vicki Ariyasu, senior VP, Education, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; Marc Buhaj, VP, unscripted series and specials; Joseph D’Ambrosia, senior VP, original programming and general manager of Disney Junior; Theresa Helmer, executive director, integrated content strategy; Susette Hsiung, executive VP, production management and operations; Lauren Kisilevsky, senior VP, original movies; Meredith Roberts, senior VP and general manager, TV animation; Reena Singh, senior VP, development and current series; and Judy Taylor, senior VP, casting and talent relations.

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