New vice president for Disney's Animal Kingdom as Josh D'Amaro moves to new role

Aug 13, 2014 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Wednesday August 13, 2014 7:36am EDT by WDWMAGIC Staff

Djuan Rivers has been named as the new vice president, Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Djuan Rivers has previously served as the general manager of Aulani, and as a vice president, Hotels and Business Solutions at Disneyland Paris. Most recently at Walt Disney World, he had served as general manager of Disney's Wilderness Lodge, and vice president, Downtown Disney.

Existing Disney's Animal Kingdom vice president Josh D'Amaro will be taking up the role of senior vice present, Resort and Transportation Operations. This position has recently been vacated by Tom Wolber, who is heading to Disneyland Resort Paris, in the role of President of Euro Disney S.A.S.

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xstech25Aug 16, 2014

I would like to see evidence for this case. The people I know in the company were telling me when he was hired that he wanted to expand the bus system as well as the roads, and did not want to expand the monorail system because the routes can't be changed on demand and doen't make fiscal sense in this scenario. So i'm just wondering where the evidence is on your reasoning?

ford91exploderAug 16, 2014

Because many of us have been in corporate life long enough to recognize when an executive is moved because of politics and selfsame executive has an iron clad contract, In these cases the executive in question is given a 'window seat' and nothing to do in the hopes that they will find a new job and move on. The expansion of the bus terminals is something any competent project manager could handle. That is not a project which requires a senior VP with a background in operating major transit systems. Disney transportation is BROKEN and needs to be fixed. Unfortunately like so many organizations they REALLY DONT want to fix the problem just appear to be fixing it.

xstech25Aug 16, 2014

Or he oversaw the expansions they hired him for (re-doing MKs bus area and monorail system reconfig to a more industry-standard operation), and then moved him to another executive level role to get him experience in another line of business, like they do with most all executives? Josh D'Amaro went from running Adventures by Disney, to running Animal Kingdom, to running Resorts & Transportation. If anything i'd consider this a pretty normal "business as usual" move, if anything in this company it would be weird for a high profile VP to actually keep one job for many years. I mean this company switched their VP of Parks & Resorts and CFO, those are two totally different jobs (can you imagine going from running the travel business to being CFO of a bunch of different brands in a bunch of different industries?) It must be pretty neat though to be high up in a company and know in a few years you will be probably be moved to a different job. Also I don't know how you can consider running a massive world-famous place that has thousands of employees a sinecure. I think it would be safe to say that any job running a huge theme park, resort, university, etc would be pretty stressful.

lazyboy97oAug 15, 2014

There are people like Phil Holmes and George Kalogridis who do have such a career history. I think this is why people more want an outsider who can come in fresh without having been shaped by the culture, which logically tries to reinforce itself by advancing like-minded individuals.

dreamfinderAug 15, 2014

True. I'm suggesting they promote from the ground up. Not the shuffling of deck chairs, but promote all the way down the line. Making it possible for someone who started working attractions in the college program, to be attracted promoted to lead, to area manager, to land manager, etc, etc. Make it possible for there to be 50 year veterans of the company who have worked their way up the line.

asianwayAug 15, 2014

He probably threatened to blow the whistle

ford91exploderAug 15, 2014

Yes the transport guy was brought in to FIX transportation in the process he ruffled feathers (they needed ruffling) and he was transferred to EPCOT as a sinecure

lazyboy97oAug 15, 2014

The problem is Disney promoting from within amongst a group that increasingly has no theme park experience. It's the same mentality that placed Paul Pressler into Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Although hiring an outsider does not guarantee much difference. I believe it is the Vice President of EPCOT Center who has a whole career in transit, was brought in to deal with Walt Disney World's transit and then rather quickly given a theme park.

ford91exploderAug 15, 2014

It's still mandatory reading today as is 'The Organization Man' by William H. Whyte and to explain the failures of MM+ 'The Mythical Man Month' by Fred Brooks.

ford91exploderAug 15, 2014

The problem today is how management despises it's workforce back in the old days it was possible to start in the mailroom and make it to senior management. Today if you are hired in a role by an old line company you are STUCK there forever there are the odd exceptions of course but they are very unusual. But today US management is like prewar Britain to be a 'Manager' all that is needed is the right connections and the 'right schools' talent and skill are unnecessary. It's telling that most of the successful companies today are started by immigrants largely Chinese and Indian and the hierarchy tends to be a strict meritocracy. And at my company Diwali is a bigger deal than Christmas and to my surprise it is in many ways more fun. In the tech field the indicator of when to look for Greener Pa$ture$ is when the 'Pretty People' with MBA's arrive.

biggy HAug 15, 2014

Then again people in the company don't always see the problems than fresh blood can and do. A good company should use both , promote from inside and recruit from outside.

wogwogAug 15, 2014

The "Peter Principle" lives. Book by Laurence J. Peter late about 1968. Mandatory reading then. Explains Disney of today.

dreamfinderAug 15, 2014

Why being someone in from outside? In my experience people that have worked the job from the ground up tend to have the best ideas about what needs to be done and how to handle it. If a company properly pays their employees, provides them with potential internal advancement with corresponding training, there is no need to bring out people from outside industries. By allowing for internal advancement, you encourage people to actively care about the company and it's future, which allows them to better make long term decisions and strategies. Someone from outside often only cares about the end numbers, and making/beating goals to look good for the Street. Short term gains help one to advance and move up/out faster, but end up stripping a company of any long term viability.

TP2000Aug 14, 2014

Fantastic, and funny, post! It is quite noticeable now that Disney's Parks division doesn't inject new blood into its executive ranks. They just shuffle people from one random department to another, with an obligatory stop as a VP of a single theme park so they can check the "Operations" box off on some internal company document. Very odd. And yet I wonder who they could bring in from the outside world to help run their theme parks? I wouldn't want anyone from any other theme park company, as Disney is still different from the competition. I wouldn't want anyone from an American transportation field, like one of this country's many sad airlines or, God forbid, Amtrak or Greyhound. The only thing I could think is the cruise industry. And they once brought in a Disney Cruise Line exec to be the President of Disneyland and it was wonderful and sparked a new Golden Age for Disneyland. But then they treated him poorly and he left after three years, and he was replaced with a totally useless and generic guy for three years. Maybe a Nordstrom executive? Maybe a successful Ford or Toyota exec? I just don't know. But the routine shuffling of deck chairs has to stop. It's becoming obvious the parks are stagnating and focusing on all the wrong things, or at least ignoring the basics of cleanliness, friendliness, and showmanship.