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Ricky Strauss to Exit Walt Disney, Joe Earley to Curate Content for Disney Plus

Ricky Strauss (Courtesy of Disney Plus)

In the wake of a broad restructuring at the Walt Disney Company, Ricky Strauss, who led Disney Plus’ content curation and marketing efforts, is departing the entertainment conglomerate at the end of the month, after nine years with the company.

Joe Earley will add content curation of streaming service Disney Plus to his responsibilities, per an internal memo from Disney’s chairman of international operations and direct-to-consumer Rebecca Campbell.

Calling Strauss “an incredibly creative, dedicated leader” and noting his contributions to Disney Plus, Campbell said that “the recent company reorganization led to a significant change in Ricky’s role. After a great deal of reflection, he decided it was time to pursue new creative endeavors.”

Earley will report to Michael Paull, while Brian Henderson, who oversees Hulu content curation, will report to Hulu president Kelly Campbell.

Per Strauss’ memo to his team:

Dear team:

After nine years with The Walt Disney Company, and much contemplation over the past several months, I have come to the decision that it is time for me to move on to pursue new creative endeavors. It took much thought and consideration, but with our new structure and the changes to my role, the reorganization does not provide me with the opportunity to do the kind of work I love to do and to continue making the intended impact I have been so fortunate to have achieved at Disney.

It has been a privilege to help create the roadmap to launch Disney+ to fans around the world during the past several years. I’ve met so many personal goals I set out for myself, and, as a company, we’ve achieved far more than I would have ever imagined. None of this would have been possible without the Company’s thoughtful risk-taking and strong focus on creating dynamic entertainment and value for our consumers.

I am incredibly grateful to have had the chance to work for a company that I always dreamed of as a kid — and have been able to play a role in defining its future. The launch of Disney+ was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – and I will never forget the journey we traveled together.

While I will be here through the end of the month to help Rebecca and the senior team with any transition needs, I wanted to take the time now to personally thank all of you as it will be the daily interactions and shared moments with each of you that I will miss most.

Finally, I would be remiss not to share how appreciative I am of the leadership, guidance and support of Rebecca, Kareem, Bob Chapek and Bob Iger for their understanding around this very personal decision of mine to set off on a new adventure.

With great appreciation, admiration and love,


Campbell’s internal memo can be read below:

Dear team,

It is with great regret that I inform you that, after nine years with The Walt Disney Company, Ricky Strauss has made the personal decision to leave the company.

Ricky has been an incredibly creative, dedicated leader and friend to so many of us at Disney. As Bob Iger has shared with me on many occasions, Ricky’s leadership of the Disney+ Content & Marketing efforts leading up to and following the launch of Disney+ has been remarkable – and we are so appreciative of his expertise, passion and care. However, the recent company reorganization led to a significant change in Ricky’s role. After a great deal of reflection, he decided it was time to pursue new creative endeavors.

While I am sad to see Ricky go, I understand that great change also brings an opportunity to chart a new course and I humbly respect the choice he has made. I know you all join me in wishing Ricky all the best on his new adventures.

Moving forward, Joe Earley will add Content Curation for Disney+ to his purview and continue to report into Michael Paull. Brian Henderson who oversees Hulu Content Curation will report into Kelly Campbell.

In closing, I want to personally thank Ricky for all of his amazing work. His contributions to the success of the Company and Disney+ will forever be part of our legacy. Below is the note that Ricky sent to his team just moments ago.

With immense gratitude,


Variety's Elaine Low contributed to this post.


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