Peter Schneider, longtime chief of animation for Walt Disney Co., has been promoted to president of Disney Studios with responsibilities over the company's live-action family features, TV animation, Disney's Sunday night movies and live entertainment at the company's theme parks.
The move puts feature animation back under the purview of the studio--as it was before 1994 under former studio Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg--and consolidates all studio operations, including theatrical productions, under current Chairman Joe Roth.
In a prepared statement, Disney Co. Chairman Michael Eisner said, "The studio change is part of our continuing effort to simplify and streamline our organizational structure worldwide."
Eisner denied speculation that Disney may be positioning Schneider, a 14-year veteran of the company, for a bigger role in the event that Roth leaves the studio.
Eisner said in a phone interview that "there's been no conversation about Joe Roth leaving the studio. This is not a succession plan, it's an organizational, team plan that gives Joe added responsibilities and gives him an experienced player to work with, particularly in the Disney products area."
Eisner noted that the promotion is "rewarding Peter Schneider for his spectacular decade of work."
Today, Disney is also expected to announce that Thomas Schumacher will succeed Schneider as president of feature animation and Walt Disney theatrical productions. In his role as executive vice president of feature animation and theatrical productions, Schumacher worked as co-producer with Schneider on the Tony-award-winning Broadway musical "The Lion King."
In his new role, Schneider, 48, will work with Roth overseeing the development, production, marketing and distribution of Disney-branded family movies and theatrical productions. However, he will not oversee the company's live-action movies for adults under the Touchstone banner.
Schneider, who joined Disney in 1985 as head of animation, working with Disney Vice Chairman Roy Disney, will consult on live entertainment at Disney theme parks.
During his tenure at the studio, Schneider has been involved with such animated hits as "The Lion King" and "The Little Mermaid."