Disney named Playdom CEO John Pleasants as co-president of Disney Interactive Media following the departure last month
of former division head Steve Wadsworth, Disney said over the weekend.
Serving as fellow co-president for the division is James Pitaro, who most recently was head of the media unit at Yahoo!. Disney appointed the two executives to lead the segment as the division posted $130 million in losses for the first nine months of the year -- it's Disney's only unprofitable division.
Pleasants came under the Disney umbrella only recently, as the company acquired the social game maker
and Sorority Life
developer Playdom for up to $763.2 million in July this year, an amount that includes $200 million in performance-based earn-outs.
It wasn't the first pricey online game move that Disney made in recent years. The company acquired kid-friendly social site Club Penguin in 2007 for $350 million. In July, Disney also acquired Tapulous, the social mobile game developer behind Tap Tap Revenge
music rhythm games on iOS devices.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has expressed
that the company will target more resources towards social gaming, a category that he recently said is "here to stay." Disney Interactive Studios develops console-based games including Disney Epic Mickey, Tron: Evolution
and Guilty Party
, but Iger said that the company is "reallocating" some investment in console games to social games.
"We see this as a growth area and we need people experienced in how to best operate them," Iger told Bloomberg
regarding the new executive appointments.
Pleasants will continue to oversee Playdom, and will also lead Club Penguin, World of Cars Online
, Tapulous and other initiatives in console, online and mobile games. Pitaro will run businesses including Disney Online and social media marketing agency DigiSynd.