September 19, 2009

Cook leaves Disney Studios after 38 years

Walt Disney Studios head Dick Cook is parting ways with the U.S. company after 38 years following a surprising studio decision, a source close to Cook says.

The unidentified source said Cook was caught unawares Friday when studio officials informed him they wanted to go in a different direction, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

An unidentified representative for the studio denied the report about Friday's meeting of studio officials.

The departure of Cook comes months after Disney Chief Executive Robert A. Iger first voiced disapproval of the studio's cinematic struggles during the last year.

Among the studio's lackluster offerings during the last year were G-Force, Race to Witch Mountain and Bedtime Stories.

The Times said Iger did offer a positive statement regarding the outgoing Disney Studios head, applauding Cook's tremendous passion during his 38-year tenure.

Dick Cook's outstanding creative instincts and incomparable showmanship have truly enriched this company and significantly impacted Disney's great legacy, Iger said. We thank Dick for his tremendous passion for Disney, and his many accomplishments and contributions.