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Schneider Steps Down As Chairman Of The Walt Disney Studios

In an announcement made June 20, 2001, by Michael D. Eisner, chairman and CEO, and Robert A. Iger, president and COO, of The Walt Disney Company, Peter Schneider will step down as chairman of The Walt Disney Studios to start a new Broadway theater production and investment company funded in part by Disney. While no successor has been named, other senior executives continuing in their current positions will be Richard Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, Thomas Schumacher, president of Walt Disney Animation, Walt Disney Television Animation and Buena Vista Theatrical Group and Nina Jacobson, president of the Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group. Schneider has been an executive at Disney since 1985, serving in his current position since January 2000, when he took over for former head Joe Roth, who left to start Revolution Studios. He was previously at the helm of Disney's Feature Animation unit before becoming president of The Walt Disney Studios. "I wish Peter all the success and happiness as he goes forward," Eisner said. "For the last 16 years, he has been a wonderful colleague and friend who has been at the center of our incredible creative successes in animation and the legitimate theater. He has chosen to go back to his roots in live theater. Whether Peter is producing a play on Broadway or wherever his plans take him, I will be with him in spirit. Peter's passion and purpose, however, will be missed in Burbank." Said Schneider, "The past 16 years working for Disney have been the most gratifying of my life. It has been an honor to be part of this company's fantastic heritage and to have worked with some of the finest entertainment people in the world. I want to thank Michael Eisner and Roy Disney for their strong support and encouragement from the very beginning, back in 1985." Iger commented, "While we regret bidding farewell to Peter, we are fortunate to have three outstanding executives with solid and proven track records overseeing The Walt Disney Studios. Dick Cook has practically grown up with Disney and knows the motion picture business inside and out. Tom Schumacher has been a vital part of Feature Animation for the last 13 years and has been an incredible force in shaping Disney's animation and theater projects. Nina Jacobson built much of her reputation outside Disney and we are pleased that she joined us in early 1998 to contribute her creativity and judgment to developing motion pictures and overseeing production of our live-action films." According to the company, Cook will continue to have worldwide responsibility for all marketing and distribution in all platforms for the feature film and home video products of The Walt Disney Studios. In addition, Schumacher will continue to be responsible for all feature and television animation and video premieres for the studios plus the production, financing, marketing and distribution of Disney's Broadway theatrical businesses, while Jacobson will continue to lead the development and production of Disney and Touchstone live-action films.