Disney taps PepsiCo’s Hugh Johnston as CFO

Disney has named a new finance chief, hiring PepsiCo’s Hugh Johnston to the role of senior EVP and chief financial officer, effective December 4.

Johnston is the current vice chairman and CFO of food and beverage giant PepsiCo, where he’s served in several leadership roles during a 34-year tenure.

Taking on the top financial role at the company, Johnston will report to Disney CEO Robert Iger. Johnston joining Disney follows the departure of former CFO Christine McCarthy, who stepped down from her role in June. Since then, Disney’s Kevin Lansberry had been serving as interim CFO, and following Johnston’s appointment will return to his role as CFO of the Disney Experiences segment.

Johnston has been with PepsiCo since 1987 and was named CFO in 2010. His previous roles at company include EVP of Global Operations, president of Pepsi-Cola North America, SVP of Transformation, and SVP and CFO of PepsiCo Beverages and Foods, among other positions.

“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,” said Disney’s Iger in a statement. “His expertise will serve Disney and its shareholders well as we continue the transformative work we are doing to drive growth and value creation.”

Under the leadership of Iger, who last November returned as CEO replacing then-CEO Bob Chapek, Disney has pursued multiple efforts as part of sweeping restructuring. That includes cutting 7,000 jobs related to a $5.5 billion cost-savings effort and a push to make its streaming business profitable. Most recently Disney confirmed its buyout of the remaining 33% stake in Hulu from Comcast.  In addition to its streaming services, the company has linear TV networks including Disney, ABC and ESPN – the latter which it has previously pegged as poised for an inevitable shift to direct-to-consumer.

“Disney is such a storied company, with the most beloved brands in the world and a strong financial foundation to support the company of the future that Bob and his team are building,” Johnston said in a statement. “Very few companies have withstood the test of time that Disney has, making the company as rare as it is special. I share Bob’s enthusiasm for Disney’s future, and I am incredibly excited to join this management team in this moment of opportunity and possibility.”

Disney reports its fiscal full year and fourth quarter 2023 earnings on Wednesday, November 8.