Joe Earley is taking over from Ricky Strauss as Disney+’s lead content curator, as per a memo sent to staffers by Rebecca Campbell, Disney’s chairman of international operations and direct-to-consumer.
“[T]he recent company reorganization led to a significant change in Ricky’s role,” Campbell wrote to the team. “After a great deal of reflection, he decided it was time to pursue new creative endeavors.”
Earley, a former Promax board co-chair, has been serving as executive vice president of marketing and operations and now is adding content curation to that role, reporting to Michael Paull, president, Disney+ and ESPN+. Earley has previous programming experience, having served as chief operating officer for the Fox Television Group.
Meanwhile, Brian Henderson will continue to oversee content curation for Hulu, reporting to Hulu President Kelly Campbell.
Strauss’ decision comes a couple of months after Disney underwent a major restructuring, which saw him take on a new role as president of programming and content curation for Disney+ and Hulu. Over the past year, content development and production has been shifted over to Disney’s owned studios.
“After nine years with The Walt Disney Company, and much contemplation over the past several months, I have come to the decision that it is time for me to move on to pursue new creative endeavors,” Strauss wrote in an internal memo. “It took much thought and consideration, but with our new structure and the changes to my role, the reorganization does not provide me with the opportunity to do the kind of work I love to do and to continue making the intended impact I have been so fortunate to have achieved at Disney.”
In 2018, Strauss was named president of content and marketing for Disney+, where he oversaw the streaming service’s strategic vision as well as its original programming slate, production partnerships and acquisitions as the service worked toward launch in late 2019. Today, Disney+ boasts 86.8 million subscribers less than a year and a half after Disney+ debuted.
Prior to joining Disney+, Strauss served as president of marketing for The Walt Disney Studios, overseeing creative, media, digital, promotions, publicity, research and synergy across all distribution channels for all motion pictures released under the Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfim banners.
During his tenure in that role, he oversaw the launch of such global blockbusters as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story; Marvel’s The Avengers; Captain America: Civil War; Guardians of the Galaxy; Pixar’s Finding Dory and Inside Out and many more.