Catherine Powell - President, Disney Parks Western Regions leaving the company

Sep 24, 2019 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Tuesday September 24, 2019 3:18pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

According to reports, Catherine Powell - President, Disney Parks Western Regions is leaving the Walt Disney Company.

Powell rose rapidly in the theme park leadership role from years working in Disney's TV business. She joined Disney in 2004 in media distribution before eventually leading Disneyland Paris in 2016. She then moved into a top executive position, overseeing Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, and Disneyland Paris and reporting to Bob Chapek, Chairman Disney Parks Experiences and Products.

Bloomberg reports that along with Powell leaving, the role of 'President, Disney Parks Western Regions' has also been removed from the company structure, with individual park Vice Presidents now reporting directly to Bob Chapek.

Various reports from media outlets are suggesting that the performance of Star Wars Galaxy's Edge has been below expectations, and this may be part of the reasoning behind the restructure.

Discuss on the Forums
View all comments →

cjkeatingAug 20, 2020

Great news for Catherine, very happy for her.

LilofanAug 20, 2020

Catherine Powell survived the huge layoff at Airbnb. She joined the San Francisco company earlier this year as an executive. There was a layoff which included 25% of staff to be let go. She survived the layoff which included some executives. Her new position is in charge of hosting which combines two departments after the other dept exec was laid off.

LilofanDec 02, 2019

Good words from her. Corporate world is brutal and a kick in the teeth and experiencing a lay off is not for the faint of heart. My advise is save and invest, live below your means because for rainy days like this it sure can come in handy if you have a little nest egg to live on before your next adventure.

IanDLBZFDec 02, 2019

Very powerful post from her LinkedIn.... https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/parting-thoughts-i-leave-disney-catherine-powell

the.dreamfinderSep 30, 2019

I wasn’t sure if the Columbia accident, the ship, not the space shuttle, was during her tenure or Pressler’s.

TP2000Sep 30, 2019

That one in 2000 under her watch was small potatoes. A year and a half before that boy was killed, two people had their heads amputated in cold blood while standing on the Frontierland dock waiting for the Columbia Sailing Ship to arrive, and a Disneyland employee had their foot ripped off in the process. (The employee lived without her foot, the two waiting passengers didn't live without their heads.) And then a few years later, still under her watch, a young man riding Big Thunder Mountain was violently killed when the train derailed and his car crashed into the roof of the tunnel he was speeding through in the dark, while a couple dozen people became trapped in the suddenly bloody tunnel and had to scramble for safety amongst the dead and injured. It was that third accident in September '03, and the fourth death of a paying customer on her watch, that suddenly convinced her to leave immediately "to spend more time with family" as an unmarried woman with no children. She moved up to San Francisco 60 days later to work for The Gap, because apparently the family that needed more time was all caught up after 60 days. The glass ceiling was shattered, along with some skulls.

Sir_CliffSep 30, 2019

Also let us not forget that the person steering the conversation in this direction just wrote an article painting the CEO at the time of all these cutbacks and accidents as a hapless victim of his scheming underlings.

eggSep 29, 2019

Yes, however, am I to believe they genuinely promoted her with the idea that the position would stick around? When you’re Bob Chapek, you don’t really like input from lower-down folks anyway, so you’re probably glad to handle both parks and merch without extra help. Her position feels like more of a transitional one to help Bob get ahold of his new responsibilities and then continue carelessly approving big ass boxes in otherwise-themed environments. Point being, I never saw it lasting, and I wonder if people within the company, perhaps herself included, felt the same way.

TrojanUSCSep 29, 2019

Let us not forget the poor maintenance under her watch that led to Big Thunder Mountain derailing and killing a guest.

Sir_CliffSep 28, 2019

That'll teach them for putting a woman in such an important position!

ImperfectPixieSep 28, 2019

Thank you.

asianwaySep 28, 2019

I think we’re referencing Harris

the.dreamfinderSep 28, 2019

Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin

LilofanSep 28, 2019

Jan 3, 1984, 48 year old female guest was killed and decapitated when thrown from Matterhorn ride. Investigation said her seat belt was not properly buckled. RIP.