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: Top Disney TV exec Peter Rice departs abruptly

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A major shakeup in Walt Disney Co.’s executive ranks sent shares down 2% Thursday.

Dana Walden was tapped as the chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content, shortly after the reported ouster of Peter Rice, one of the company’s top television executives.

Rice, a former Fox executive, joined Disney
DIS,
-1.76%

in 2017 as part of Disney’s $71 billion acquisition of a bundle of entertainment assets from 21st Century Fox
FOX,
+0.10%
.
News of the respected Rice’s sudden departure left Disney watchers scratching their heads, and the stock tumbling.

Walden’s ascension, meanwhile, establishes her as one of the most powerful and prominent executives in the content industry. Her oversight includes ABC Entertainment, ABC News, Disney Branded Television, Disney Television Studios, Freeform, FX, Hulu Originals, National Geographic Content and Onyx Collective. She reports directly to Disney Chief Executive Bob Chapek.

The move marks a high profile restructuring shift made by Chapek, who continues to make his mark on the studio after replacing Bob Iger.

“Dana is a dynamic, collaborative leader and cultural force who in just three years has transformed our television business into a content powerhouse that consistently delivers the entertainment audiences crave,” Chapek said in a statement.

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