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Disney General Entertainment chairman Walden to make inclusion ‘top priority’

Dana Walden, the recently appointed chairman of Disney General Entertainment (DGE), has outlined some of her aims for the unit after she began in the new role this week.

Dana Walden

Walden, whose promotion from Walt Disney Television group chairman to chairman of DGE followed the shock ousting of Peter Rice, sent a memo to staff yesterday after the shake-up.

The exec said she had been “very fortunate to have worked alongside Peter Rice for a long time” and that “he is a gifted executive, and I learned a lot from him. I know you all join me in wishing him the best in whatever he chooses to do next.”

Walden also listed various DGE achievements under Rice’s tenure and thanked The Walt Disney Company (TWDC) CEO Bob Chapek “for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime.”

Rice’s unexpected departure represents a major shake-up by Chapek, who officially succeeded longtime Disney head Bob Iger last year and has encountered a number of speed bumps since taking the top job at the Mouse House.

Chapek has faced criticism following Disney’s response to an anti-gay Bill in Florida, which caused outrage at the company earlier this year and for which Chapek later apologised.

Elsewhere in the memo, Walden said she wanted to make DGE “a place where inclusion is top priority.”

Walden wrote: “I promise you that I will do everything I can to support you and make sure that DGE is the best place in the business to work. A place that thrives on creativity and creative risk-taking; a place where people can bring their authentic, true selves to work every day; a place where inclusion is top priority and collaboration is celebrated; and a place where we will never stop working to be the very best home for talent.

“Let’s remember we are in the business of storytelling – what’s cooler than that? Let’s celebrate each other’s wins, show up for one another, watch each other’s shows and connect even more together as a team.”

In related news, Disney+, the streaming service from TWDC, will be available in 42 new countries and 11 new territories this week following the launch today in Greece, Turkey and countries in Central and Eastern Europe, including Poland, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic and Croatia.

These launches follow the arrival of the service in South Africa on May 18 and across the Middle East and North Africa on June 8. On Thursday, Disney+ will also launch in Israel, making the service available in 60 countries across EMEA.

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