Fordham Law

Fordham Law Alum Named Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios

October 06, 2009

Rich Ross ’86 has been named Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. The announcement was made by Disney President and CEO Robert A. Iger.

Previously President of Disney Channels Worldwide, Ross will oversee worldwide production, distribution, and marketing for the company’s range of live-action and feature animated film labels, including Walt Disney, Touchstone, Miramax and Disney/Pixar. In his new role, he will also head Disney’s theatrical and music groups.

"It is an extraordinary achievement, and an extraordinarily well-deserved one,” said Fordham Law Dean William Michael Treanor. “Rich has brought an energy, a vision, and a sense of fun to his work at Disney Channels that has been transformative, and his career is a source of great pride to all of us at Fordham Law. We look forward to this exciting new chapter in his career and wish him the greatest success."

In his thirteen years at Disney, Ross has consistently created hit original programming, effectively expanded a worldwide creative and distribution organization, skillfully built the Disney brand with global franchises that work across borders and technology platforms, and put in place a strong management team.   

 “Rich has an outstanding record of creating high quality family entertainment that delights audiences around the world,” said Iger. “With his success in building the Disney brand across many of our businesses, his astute marketing sensibility, his proven ability in working effectively with talent, and his skill at navigating complex global markets, I’m confident he’s the perfect leader for our studio group.”

Under Ross’s leadership, the performance of Disney Channels Worldwide has been consistently strong in both creative and competitive terms, in the U.S. and globally. The group now includes a total of 94 channels and channel feeds available in 163 countries in 32 languages and features such brands as the flagship Disney Channel, the boy-focused Disney XD and Playhouse Disney for younger kids.

“I am very excited to play a key role in continuing the storytelling legacy of The Walt Disney Studios. There has never been a better time to entertain our global audiences with high quality and compelling content and introduce new characters that will become family favorites. I look forward to working with Bob, the team at the studios and all of our Disney family towards that goal,” said Ross.


Dean William Michael Treanor and Rich Ross '86 at the 2008 Graduation Ceremony.

Ross has also overseen the growth of Radio Disney and of the group’s multiplatform offerings, which includes subscription video-on-demand and content-rich broadband websites and, the number one kid’s entertainment website among Kids 6-14.

Ross joined Disney in 1996 as Disney Channel’s Senior Vice President, Programming and Production and was promoted to positions of increasing responsibility before being named Disney Channel President in April 2004. Prior to his tenure at Disney, he was a member of the executive team that launched FX Networks. Ross also held several senior positions at Nickelodeon from 1986 to 1993.

At Fordham Law’s 2008 graduation ceremony, Ross gave the graduation address and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Contact: Stephen Eichinger