John Cracknell Retires as Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company Australia a

13 December, 2013 by IF


The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) today announced the retirement of John Cracknell, Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand after what will be 23 years of service when he hangs up his ears in July 2014. The Company also announced the appointment of Catherine Powell currently Senior Vice President and General Manager of Disney Media Distribution for The Walt Disney Company Europe, Middle East and Africa to take over from John.


John joined the company in 1992 as managing director of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Australia and New Zealand, where he was responsible for launching Disney’s Home Entertainment business. In 1998, John’s remit was expanded to include South East Asia which he managed until 2000. That same year he was named Country Manager, Walt Disney International for Australia and New Zealand and held the dual position as Managing Director of the Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment division for Australia and New Zealand. In 2010, when the company created a fully integrated management and operational structure, John was appointed to the role of managing director of The Walt Disney Company Australia and New Zealand and seized the opportunity to take the best entertainment from across the Company and present it to the local market in a cohesive and integrated way.

“For 23 years John has displayed amazing commitment and dedication to the business, has created a world class team and in rising to the challenges of our industry, leaves The Walt Disney Company Australia and New Zealand in excellent shape,” said Mr. Andy Bird, Chairman Walt Disney International. “In the appointment of Catherine we have a terrific executive who keenly understands the future of the media industry. Her digital skills combined with exceptional management acumen and collaborative approach will make her a great leader for this region.”

“I don’t think there’s a better company that I could have chosen to work for,” Mr. Cracknell said. “Disney has the best stories and characters, and the strongest franchises and for over 20 years I found myself saying there’s never been a better time to work at Disney. I grew up with characters and stories that I loved andI have enjoyed bringing them to families across Australia and New Zealand.”

Ms. Powell is a ten year Disney veteran who has pioneered a single Walt Disney Company approach to delivering the vast portfolio of content from The Walt Disney Company to its commercial partners from free and pay TV broadcasters to digital platforms, retailers and services. Catherine set pan-regional strategies for Disney’s branded channels, content and digital distribution for movies, television programming, games, music, e-books and apps. Ms. Powell has a deep understanding of all of the Walt Disney Company’s brands, including Disney*Pixar, ABC Studios and News, Marvel and Disney which she will bring to bear in Australia and New Zealand. She joined Disney in 2004 following senior management roles at BBC Worldwide covering TV sales for Central & Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Ms.Powell will move from the United Kingdom to Australia and will be based in the Company’s Sydney office. Catherine reports to Mr. Bird.