Burbank, Calif, Nov. 19, 2003 – Andy Bird has joined The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) as president, Walt Disney International, it was announced today by Michael Eisner, Disney chairman and chief executive officer, and Robert Iger, Disney president and chief operating officer. Bird, a senior entertainment industry executive with extensive experience in development and operation of television and radio businesses internationally, was most recently president of Time Warner’s TBS International, will join Disney effective January 12, 2004.
“From a strategic perspective, one of Disney’s most significant long-term growth opportunities resides in markets outside of the United States, and it is crucial that the company continue to have a well-coordinated approach to business development around the world,” Eisner said.
“Andy is a talented executive with strong media, entertainment and business experience who has built businesses in Europe, Latin America and Asia,” Iger said. “Andy brings a diverse portfolio of skills and experiences that, coupled with the strength of Disney’s existing International team, will allow us to capitalize on the business development and further growth opportunities in markets around the world.”
Working in conjunction with business unit leaders around the world, Bird will be responsible for coordinating and overseeing growth opportunities for Disney outside the United States, and for targeting new businesses, growing and increasing penetration of existing businesses, and leading the development of business and operations in emerging markets.
For nearly a decade, Bird has been with Time Warner, joining in 1994 as senior vice president and general manager of Turner Entertainment Networks Limited, the TBS Europe arm that produced Cartoon Network, which he helped grow to 13 channels across Europe from one. He rose to president of TBS International in 2000, and became responsible for all TBS broadcasting outside of the continental U.S. In addition, he was leading a new initiative for Time Warner in the wireless arena, an area in which Disney has seen strong growth internationally, especially in Asia.
Bird started his career with Piccadilly Radio in Manchester, England, as breakfast show producer. After that, Bird moved to London to join the Virgin Broadcasting Company working at Music Box, a Pan-European music channel. Later, Virgin asked Bird to help launch and program a satellite-delivered national radio service called Radio Radio. Bird became Head of Programming for the service producing radio shows for leading comedians and television presenters.
Between 1989 and 1994, Bird held a number of positions in radio and television in Europe, including a helping start a music channel, producing and directing a popular London-based morning TV program and producing a Saturday morning children’s TV show. In 1992, Bird was tapped by Unique Broadcasting, the largest independent radio production company in the United Kingdom, to start up and operate Unique Television.
A native of the U.K., Bird earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (with honors) from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1985. He will be based in Burbank, California.