BURBANK, Calif. September 29, 2002 – James A. (Jay) Rasulo a 17-year veteran of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) and chairman and chief executive officer of Euro Disney S.C.A. has been promoted to president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide, it was announced today by Disney Chairman and CEO Michael D. Eisner and Disney President and COO Robert A. Iger.
“Jay has been instrumental in making Disneyland Resort Paris the most popular tourist destination in Europe,” said Eisner. “His vision and extensive experience in the international arena will be invaluable as we continue to grow the business globally.”
Iger added, “Jay has an exceptional understanding of our brand and the complexities of the parks and resorts business. His talents as a strategic thinker, accomplished leader and effective operator combine to make Jay the perfect person to lead the parks and resorts group.”
“This is one of the most exciting challenges of my 17 years with Disney. I’m honored to have this opportunity to lead a fantastic team and look forward to sharing the Disney magic around the world as we continue to grow our parks and resorts business,” said Rasulo, who will be based in Burbank, California.
In his new role, Rasulo, 46, whose appointment will be effective immediately, will oversee the company’s theme parks and resorts, the Disney Cruise Line, Disney Regional Entertainment, Walt Disney Imagineering and Anaheim Sports Inc., management company for Major League Baseball’s Anaheim Angels and the NHL’s Mighty Ducks. In addition, he will be responsible for the business’ long-term growth and international expansion initiatives, including the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland.
“Beginning with Walt Disney World veteran Al Weiss along with Matt Ouimet of Disney Cruise Line, Cynthia Harriss of Disneyland, Don Goodman and Marty Sklar of Imagineering, Mas Imai of Walt Disney Attractions Japan, Don Robinson in Hong Kong and Regynald Washington of the ESPN Zone, we have an exceptional group of talented leaders to steer us through these challenging times. Through an extraordinary level of guest service and creativity, this team has positioned us to further capitalize on the great assets the company has built,” Eisner added.
Rasulo joined the Walt Disney Company in 1986 in Corporate Strategic Planning where he led strategy development for all real estate-based businesses in The Walt Disney Company portfolio. He was senior vice president of Corporate Alliances from 1993 – 1995, organizing the sponsorship activities into a company wide strategic business unit. Rasulo also spent three years with the Disney Regional Entertainment business where he was part of the development of ESPN Zone. In 1998 he moved to Paris to assume the position of executive vice president, Euro Disney S.C.A.
In May of 2000, Rasulo was named Chairman and CEO of Euro Disney, S.C.A. and has been an integral part of the many growth initiatives that transformed Disneyland Paris into the top tourist destination in Europe. Just this year, Rasulo marked the beginning of a new and exciting era for the Disneyland Paris Resort with the opening of its second park, Walt Disney Studios. In January of 2001 he welcomed the 100 millionth guest to the Disneyland Paris Park which celebrated it’s 10th anniversary this year.
During his tenure at Disneyland Resort Paris, Rasulo oversaw a massive period of real estate development and signed four major hotel deals with European tour operators and hotel chains for the construction of two thousand new hotel rooms on the Euro Disney property and surrounding area. Also under his leadership, the Disney Village retail, entertainment and dining center has expanded dramatically and seen record levels of revenue.
Rasulo succeeds Paul Pressler, who has become president and chief executive officer of Gap Inc. An international search for Rasulo’s replacement is under way and in the interim he will continue to oversee Euro Disney operations until a successor is named.
A native New Yorker, Rasulo graduated from Columbia in 1978 with a degree in economics. He went on to earn both a MA in Economics in 1982 and an MBA at the University of Chicago in 1984. Rasulo is bi-lingual in English and French.