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Disney promotes four executives

The Walt Disney Company has named four executives to new positions. ETIENNE DE VILLIERS has been named president and managing director, Walt Disney International Europe; MICHAEL O. JOHNSON has been named president and managing director, Walt Disney International Asia; DIEGO LERNER has been named president and managing director, Walt Disney International Latin America; and PAUL SALEH has been named senior vice president and chief financial officer, Walt Disney International. De Villiers, a 14-year Disney veteran, has been president of Walt Disney Television International since 1994, where he was responsible for international free, pay and pay-per-view television activities, including Touchstone Television, Disney Television, and ABC entertainment and news programming, for more than 100 markets. He also was responsible for the production of more than 40 weekly programs worldwide. Earlier, he served as president of Buena Vista International Television before assuming the additional responsibilities of managing director of The Walt Disney Company UK, a position he retains. Johnson, who joined Disney in 1986, has been president of Disney's Buena Vista Home Entertainment since 1997, when the US organization was merged into the international home video group he had headed since 1992. Johnson established Buena Vista Home Entertainment as the worldwide distributor for Hayao Miyazaki, Japan's premier animation director. Johnson will oversee and coordinate all of Disney's activities in Asia and the Pacific Rim, including Australia. Lerner joined Disney in 1988 and has been executive vice president for Buena Vista International and Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Latin America. In 1996, Lerner conceived and oversaw the creation of the Patagonik Film Group, a film-producing firm partnering Disney with the Spanish-language multimedia organization, the Clarin Group. Patagonik is the only film production company outside the United States in which Disney is a partner. A native of Argentina, Lerner will be responsible for coordinating and overseeing all of Disney's activities in Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Saleh has been senior vice president and treasurer of The Walt Disney Company since 1997. Under his leadership, the Treasury organization has implemented a number of financing solutions to support Disney's worldwide growth initiatives in addition to managing effectively the company's currency and interest rate risks in a highly volatile market environment. Before joining Disney, Saleh held a number of senior finance posts with other multinational organizations. In his new position, Saleh will be responsible for International finance, human resources and information technology functions. De Villiers, Johnson, Lerner and Saleh will continue to handle their previous responsibilities during the transition.

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