REFILE-UPDATE 2-Disney games co-president named consultant as unit consolidates

Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:38pm EST

By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES Nov 11 (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co said on Monday it has consolidated the video games and online businesses in its interactive unit and that co-President John Pleasants has left his post to become a consultant for the division.

The group's other co-president, Jimmy Pitaro, will lead the merged unit, Disney said in a statement.

Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger appointed the two men as co-presidents in October 2010 to turn around the money-losing unit.

The division reported a $16 million profit for the quarter that ended in September, after losing $76 million a year ago, partially on sales of its ambitious new Disney Infinity console game. The company said it has sold more than 1 million Infinity starter packs worldwide since the game was released in August.

The interactive unit is Disney's smallest, accounting for less than 4 percent of revenue in the September quarter.

In a statement on Monday, Iger said the unit had recorded "three years of consistent operating improvement" and was now "in a position to fulfill our original objective to consolidate our Interactive business under one Los Angeles-based leader."

Pleasants lives in San Francisco and had been commuting frequently to Los Angeles. In an interview, Pleasants said he wanted to stay in San Francisco and felt it was the right time to leave the division under Pitaro's leadership.

"We did inherit a business that was losing $300 million a year," Pleasants said. "We put up two profitable quarters. We have a lot of momentum going into the holiday. We have very good plans for the coming fiscal year."

Pleasants was formerly head of the social games maker Playdom, which Disney acquired in 2010 for $563 million.

Disney shares slipped 0.3 percent to $68.39 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

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