Walt Disney has appointed Hugh Johnston, a veteran from PepsiCo, as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Johnston is credited with boosting PepsiCo’s revenue substantially during his tenure, increasing it from around $58 billion in 2010 to approximately $86 billion last year. His experience and expertise will be valuable as Disney continues its efforts to restructure and make its streaming business profitable. Disney is navigating changes in the media landscape, including a decline in its cable business, and facing investor pressure. The addition of Johnston to the team will strengthen Disney’s financial leadership.
Hugh Johnston’s appointment is considered a positive move for Disney, which has been working on a cost-reduction plan and addressing investor concerns, including a challenge from activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management. Peltz’s Trian is reportedly planning a new board challenge at Disney, and the company’s leadership is keen to bolster its financial position.
Johnston will officially join Disney on December 4, filling the vacancy left by Christine McCarthy’s departure in June. His wealth of experience in the food and beverage industry and his track record of financial management make him a significant asset to Disney’s leadership team.
Disney’s shares have experienced some weakness this year due to the Hollywood actors’ strike, which has halted much of the TV and movie production. This strike is expected to impact Disney’s box-office revenue, and the company’s financial performance will be closely watched when it reports earnings.
Johnston’s annual base salary at Disney will be $2 million, a notable increase compared to his $1 million base salary at PepsiCo at the end of 2022. His appointment is expected to strengthen Disney’s financial position and help steer the company through ongoing challenges in the media and entertainment industry.