James A. “Jay” Rasulo, chief financial officer at Walt Disney Co., is stepping down June 30 in a move that has been expected since February when Chief Executive Bob Iger passed him over as heir apparent.
Rasulo, who joined the Burbank media and entertainment giant in 1986, has been working without a contract since January.
Iger, 63, appointed studio veteran Thomas Staggs as chief operating officer on Feb. 5, putting him next in line for the CEO job should Iger step down when his contract expires in June 2018, as is expected. Rasulo was the other internal executive widely thought to have a shot at replacing Iger, who left the COO position in 2005 to become chief executive.
The company said Rasulo will continue to advise the company and “assist in the transition” after he leaves; his successor has not been named.
“Jay has been a valued colleague and friend, as well as a vital contributor to Disney’s success, particularly in his roles as chief financial officer and chairman of our Parks and Resorts division,” Iger said in a prepared statement.
Rasulo joined the company as director of strategic planning and development, then moved on to lead Disney’s regional entertainment division and the Euro Disney theme park before heading up the Parks and Resorts division from 2005 to 2009. The unit encompasses the company’s theme parks, resort properties, hotels and cruise ships.
In that role, he received much of the credit for expanding the division, but he was also criticized for too much standardization among the Disney properties, with some observers saying it was hard to tell the company’s Orlando property apart from those in Paris and Hong Kong.
In 2010, Rasulo was promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer and Staggs took over the parks and resorts segment, where he oversaw the completion of the many large projects started by Rasulo, including the enormous Shanghai Disney Resort.
There was no word on what Rasulo will do after he leaves. His total compensation was $16.2 million in fiscal year 2014, according to the company’s 2015 proxy statement.
“As I look to the horizon for future endeavors, I am privileged to continue my friendship with Bob and remain as an advisor to him and the Disney team,” he said in a statement.
Shares closed up 57 cents, or about half a point, to $110.94 on the New York Stock Exchange.