Disney has revealed the name of the company’s new chief financial officer, whose tenure in Burbank begins on December 4.
On Monday morning, The now-100-year-old Walt Disney Company made an announcement, saying a candidate has been selected for the role of Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Disney, left vacant in June by former CFO Christine McCarthy.
Hugh F. Johnston, formerly Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer at PepsiCo, where he fulfilled multiple leadership roles over an impressive 34-year career with the food and beverage behemoth, will take over the role of CFO on December 4, replacing interim CFO Kevin Lansberry, who stepped into the position upon news of McCarthy’s departure.
Per The Walt Disney Company’s official announcement:
As Disney’s Chief Financial Officer, Johnston will report directly to Iger and will lead the company’s worldwide finance organization, which includes corporate real estate, corporate strategy and business development, enterprise controllership, enterprise technology, financial planning and analysis, global product and labor standards, global security, investor relations, risk management, tax, and treasury.
“Hugh’s well-earned reputation as one of the best CFOs in America and his wealth of leadership experience in both financial and operational roles overseeing a diverse portfolio of top global brands make him a perfect addition to Disney’s senior leadership team,” said Iger. “His expertise will serve Disney and its shareholders well as we continue the transformative work we are doing to drive growth and value creation.
“I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to Kevin Lansberry, who stepped into the CFO role on an interim basis earlier this year,” Iger said. “Kevin has provided steady leadership and invaluable counsel to our executive management team, and he will continue to be one of our company’s most important financial leaders as he returns to his role as CFO of our Disney Experiences segment.”
“Disney is such a storied company, with the most beloved brands in the world and a strong financial foundation to support the company of the future that Bob and his team are building,” Johnston said. “Very few companies have withstood the test of time that Disney has, making the company as rare as it is special. I share Bob’s enthusiasm for Disney’s future, and I am incredibly excited to join this management team in this moment of opportunity and possibility.”
Johnston joined PepsiCo in 1987 and has held a variety of roles, including Executive Vice President, Global Operations, PepsiCo; President, Pepsi-Cola North America, Senior Vice President, Transformation, PepsiCo, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, PepsiCo Beverages and Foods, and Senior Vice President, Mergers and Acquisitions, PepsiCo.
Johnston also served as Vice President, Retail at Merck & Co. from 1999 until 2002, when he rejoined PepsiCo.
Johnston Replaces a Controversial Former CFO
Johnston replaces former CFO Christine McCarthy, who announced her departure from The Walt Disney Company in June 2023. McCarthy began her tenure with the company in 2000, first serving as Treasurer before being appointed to the role of CFO in 2016 under a four-year agreement. Her contract was renewed in 2021, extending her term by three years.
McCarthy worked closely with former CEO Bob Chapek and current CEO Bob Iger. She is one of at least three former Disney Company executives named in a shareholder class-action suit against the company, which alleges that some of Disney’s leadership engaged in illegal business practices, willfully misleading shareholders about the profitability and viability of the Disney+ streaming service, which rolled out on November 12, 2019.
On June 15, 2023, Disney announced that McCarthy would be stepping down from her role, naming Kevin Lansberry as her interim replacement as the company began the work of selecting a new candidate for the role. McCarthy reportedly stayed on with the company in the capacity of Strategic Advisor following her departure from the role of chief financial officer.