Thursday, June 19, 2003
Disney Legal Department Restructure Announced
By DON PARRET, Staff Writer
The Walt Disney Co. has restructured its legal department, a corporate spokesman said yesterday.
John Spelich said the new structure, in which four deputies will report to new general counsel Alan Braverman, will help streamline the company’s operations, new rules with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and enhance the ability of the department to focus on strategic initiatives, including new technologies the company is developing.
“Disney is a player in the industry, developing downloadable movies and DVDs that self destruct,” he said. “We want to be prepared for the future.”
Braverman, who was promoted in February to replace Louis Meisinger as the Burbank-based company’s general counsel, heads a legal department of 300 attorneys, nearly half of them based in California. Under Meisinger, the company had one deputy counsel.
The four deputies appointed to Braverman’s legal team are David K. Thompson, Edward J. Nowak, Brett R. Chapman and Terri A. Southwick.
Thompson was named senior vice president, deputy general counsel and corporate secretary.
Thompson, who joined Disney in 1989, will oversee the company’s corporate and transactional work, public reporting, corporate finance, corporate real estate and development, as well as Walt Disney Imagineering legal affairs.
Thompson graduated from Columbia University School of Law in 1980.
Nowak was named senior vice president and deputy general counsel of litigation and employment. He also has a law degree from Columbia, which he received in 1974, and joined Disney in 1984.
Chapman was promoted to senior vice president and deputy general counsel of media networks. Chapman will supervise legal affairs of the ABC television and radio stations and networks, as well as Disney’s various cable networks and its Internet division.
Chapman was most recently general counsel of Walt Disney International. Chapman joined Disney in 1991 and received his law degree from Southwestern University in 1987.
Southwick joined Disney as senior vice president and deputy general counsel of intellectual property. Before joining Disney, she served the company for seven years as outside counsel in Washington D.C.
She was also a senior lecturing fellow in digital technologies at Duke University Law School and an adjunct professor of copyright law at Georgetown University Law Center.
Prior to that, she was an attorney-advisor at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. She received her law degree in 1985 from Duke University.
Braverman started his career at Washington, D.C.’s Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, joining Capital Cities/ABC Inc. in 1993.
He retained his role as general counsel for ABC when Disney acquired the network in 1996. Disney kept him in charge of the legal affairs of not only the ABC broadcasting group, but also ESPN Inc. and ABC Cable Networks Group.
The Walt Disney Company says it is the No. 2 media conglomerate in the world, behind AOL Time Warner. The company owns the ABC television network, 10 broadcast TV stations and more than 60 radio stations.
It also has stakes in several cable channels such as ESPN (80 percent) and A&E Television Networks (38 percent). Its film unit, Walt Disney Studios, produces films through Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures and Miramax.
The company also owns Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, which includes Walt Disney World and Disneyland, as well as the NHL’s Mighty Ducks hockey team and Internet assets, such as ABC.com, Disney Online and ESPN.com.
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company