Disney appoints new media chiefs

Walt Disney has appointed two executives to strengthen its online business, which is likely to include a new Disney-branded online TV network and sales of films, merchandise and travel services over the Web.

Andrew Barron, a former McKinsey consultant specialising in telecoms strategy, becomes executive vice-president of new media and business development for Walt Disney International Europe.

Chafic Najia, formerly a director of business development for Disney-owned Buena Vista Internet Group (BVIG) becomes senior vice-president and managing director of BVIG Europe.

Disney is aiming to capitalise on the convergence of television and Internet technologies which will enable surfers to watch films and TV over the Net.

This month Walt Disney acquired Internet company Infoseek, which is to be merged with BVIG to create an entertainment, news and sport online channel called Go.com. And this year Disney is to launch its own tour operating arm called The Walt Disney Travel Company. It is likely to include a direct-sell operation over the Internet.

Last month Disney appointed Etienne de Villiers as its new president and managing director for Europe. De Villiers then appointed Selby Hall as executive vice-president of brand development and marketing for Europe.

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