Disney gets its new helmsman

Rich Ross was named chairman of The Walt Disney Studios Monday, filling the void left open by Dick Cook's sudden resignation last month.

Rich Ross, shown in this undated publicity photograph has been named chairman of The Walt Disney Studios the company announced October 5, 2009. Ross had been president, Disney Channels Worldwide.

Rich Ross, shown in this undated publicity photograph has been named chairman of The Walt Disney Studios the company announced October 5, 2009.

A new helmsman on the key post, the former president of Disney Channels Worldwide will be in charge of worldwide production, distribution and marketing for all of the entertainment giant's film units, including Walt Disney, Touchstone, Miramax and Disney/Pixar. He will also be head of Disney's theatrical and music groups.

The appointment of Ross follows the abrupt resignation late last month of longtime Disney Studios head and veteran Dick Cook, who clashed with Disney President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger.

Ross, 47, joined Disney in 1996 as Disney Channel's senior vice president, programming and production, and was appointed Disney Channel president in April 2004. Under his leadership, the channel spawned "Hannah Montana," "High School Musical" and other recent hits.

Iger said his new studio chief "has an outstanding record of creating high-quality family entertainment that delights audiences around the world.

"I'm confident he's the perfect leader for our studio group," he added.

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