EXCLUSIVE-Disney names executive to oversee metaverse strategy -memo

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Feb 15 (Reuters) - The Walt Disney Co has appointed an executive to oversee its metaverse strategy, according to an email Disney Chief Executive Bob Chapek sent to staff Tuesday and seen by Reuters.

Mike White, an executive in the Media and Entertainment Distribution group, has been named to the new role of senior vice president of Next Generation Storytelling and Consumer Experiences, where he will help define how consumers experience Disney’s coming metaverse. He will work alongside Disney’s creative teams.

“For nearly 100 years, our company has defined and re-defined entertainment by leveraging technology to bring stories to life in deeper, more impactful ways,” Chapek wrote in the email to staff, adding, “Today, we have an opportunity to connect those universes and create an entirely new paradigm for how audiences experience and engage with our stories.”

Chapek announced last November that Disney is poised to embark on journey to the metaverse, which he said would advance storytelling by combining elements of the physical and digital world. He describes the metaverse as the “next great storytelling frontier” and part of the company’s strategic priorities.

White has 25 years of technology and leadership experience. Before joining Disney in 2011, he served as chief technology officer for Apollo Group and earlier spent a decade at Yahoo, holding positions of increasing responsibility, including director of strategy and technology. He will be charged with putting in place a process to prioritize how to allocate resources and is expected to create a task force that will include leaders across the company.

White will report to Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, and to Josh D’Amaro, chairman of parks, experiences and products. (Reporting by Dawn Chmielewski; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)