Walt Disney Co. names PepsiCo’s Hugh Johnston as chief financial officer


The Walt Disney Co. on Monday named 34-year PepsiCo veteran Hugh Johnston as its new chief financial officer.

Johnston, who has been PepsiCo’s CFO since 2010, will replace Kevin Lansberry effective Dec. 4. Lansberry was appointed Disney’s interim CFO earlier this year.

Johnston has served a variety of roles at PepsiCo beginning in 1987. He left to become the CFO at Merck & Co. from 1999 to 2002, then returned to the Purchase, New York snack and beverage giant.

Johnston also serves as a member of the boards of both Microsoft and HCA Healthcare.

Johnston will report to Disney CEO Bob Iger, who returned to the Burbank, California entertainment giant just less than a year ago.

“Hugh’s well-earned reputation as one of the best CFOs in America and his wealth of leadership experience in both financial and operational roles overseeing a diverse portfolio of top global brands make him a perfect addition to Disney’s senior leadership team,” Iger said.

Disney shares were mostly unchanged at $85.27 in morning trading.

Iger returned to Disney in November of last year, replacing his handpicked successor, CEO Bob Chapek, whose two-year tenure was marked by clashes, missteps and a weakening financial performance.

Chapek oversaw Disney during one of the most challenging periods in company history that began with a pandemic and ended, at least under Chapek’s rule, with spiraling inflation.

Disney also became embroiled in a public fight with Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, where Disney runs the giant Walt Disney World theme park resort. DeSantis enacted a measure that forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools up to third grade, a rule critics dubbed the “don’t say gay” law.

Chapek remained silent publicly at first, igniting an employee revolt. When Chapek then denounced the measure, it kicked off a political backlash with conservative lawmakers and media outlets pushing boycotts and labeling Disney as too “woke.”

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