Mickey Mouse apparently wants Minnie Mouse to take some leadership responsibility now.
Late last week, Disney promoted executive VP of corporate real estate, alliances and treasurer Christine McCarthy to Chief Financial Officer. McCarthy’s strong leadership and financial knowledge makes her an ideal CFO, according to Disney CEO Bob Iger.
Just a few weeks before, Disney also promoted Leslie Ferraro as president of Disney Consumer Products (now Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media after merging with Disney Interactive). Like McCarthy, Ferraro had been a long-time Disney veteran who proved herself with leading the marketing charge for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
Both women filled positions that were recently held by men who were promoted to high positions themselves.
It is interesting to note that while Disney is often under much scrutiny for the way women are portrayed within their films and other media, the company (like so many other companies now) is not afraid to put women into positions of power.
Moreover, it is great to see trends within Disney films reflect the trends within Disney corporate. Older movies such as Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are still criticized for their portrayal of women – yet simultaneously Disney seems to have made leaps and bounds in the way modern female Disney characters are characterized. Films like Princess and the Frog, Frozen, and Inside Out display a wide variety of female characters who are all clearly defined by unique ideas and motivations. McCarthy and Ferraro’s recent appointments show that Disney is attempting to act out the principles behind the recent movies they have been making.
The inclusion of more women into positions of power at Disney Corporate may signal even further advancements in how women will be portrayed in future films. While a direct link between the number of female employees at the company and the portrayal of female Disney characters cannot be clearly made, it cannot be denied that having both men and women at the helm of a company with so much influence (especially over children!) is a good thing.
Another reason why Disney might be pushing for more females in higher positions are to join in the trends of making more talented females executives. Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer are just a few females who’ve made it to the top of the corporate ladder.
Regardless if Disney’s decision is based on trend or talent, they are making big social and strategic statements that could pay off for them in the near future.
A big congratulations to both Ms. McCarthy and Ms. Ferraro for their accomplishments. We’re excited to see how these two ladies will use their new roles at The Walt Disney Company!