Randy Freer is out at Hulu. Freer and Disney announced the once-chief executive officer of the biggest Netflix rival is leaving the company amidst wider restructuring at the House of Mouse. Expected to stay in his current position for a few more weeks to help guide the company through a transition, Hulu executives that once reported to Freer will instead report directly to those who lead Disney’s direct-to-consumer offerings.
That includes direct-to-consumer chairman Kevin Mayer, who some Hollywood insiders suggest could be taking over for Bob Iger upon the chief’s retirement next year. In a statement obtained by THR, Mayer explains the move will help Disney scale up their direct-to-consumer offerings, allowing the same people to run both Hulu and Disney+.
“I want to thank Randy for his leadership the last two years as CEO and for his collaboration the past several months to ensure an exceptionally bright future for Hulu,” Mayer says in his statement. “With the successful launch of Disney+, we are now focused on the benefits of scale within and across our portfolio of DTC businesses.”
The executive continues, “Further integrating the immensely talented Hulu team into our organization will allow us to more effectively and efficiently deploy resources, rapidly grow our presence outside the U.S. and continue to relentlessly innovate. There is a tremendous amount of opportunity ahead, and I am confident in our ability to accelerate our positive momentum and better serve consumers.”
Freer thanked Disney — in addition to minority shareholders NBCUniversal and Fox — for allowing him to run the proverbial OTT ship for a time. The executive joined Hulu as CEO in 2017 and of late, has been reporting directly to Mayer.
He adds, “I am grateful for my time at Hulu and the opportunity to work and learn with an incredibly talented and dedicated group of people. I also want to thank Kevin and the Walt Disney Company, as well as NBCUniversal and Fox, for providing me the opportunity to lead Hulu during a time of tremendous growth and significant industry transformation. Hulu has established itself as a leading choice for consumers looking for the best TV service available today, and I am confident Hulu will thrive inside Disney under DTCI’s leadership.”
Cover photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Hulu
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