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  1. #1

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    Steven Clark Departure at D23

    We've just learned that Steven Clark, head of D23, has resigned from the Disney Company to pursue new interests. We've always been fond of Steven and are sorry to hear that he's leaving. But the group is in very capable hands at the moment and in no urgent need to replace their departing leader.

    Least any of you think that the writing is on the wall that D23 is soon to be no more, I can assure you that they have a very strong lease on life following the D23 Expo (which was viewed internally as a success). With two D23 Expos in the planning (one in Japan and the next one in Anaheim) plus a Treasures of the Disney Archives exhibit in Chicago, massive membership boost following the free membership campaign, D23 is here to stay (at least for now).


    While it's always possible that whomever gets the job might lead the group in new directions, it's pretty clear that it's business as usual for D23 at the moment. There will no doubt be rumors to the contrary, but our very well placed sources indicate nothing of concern.

    Last edited by Dustysage; 09-26-2013 at 03:41 PM.
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  2. #2

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    Re: Steven Clark Departure at D23

    Best wishes to him, but yeah - it'd be hard to see any major changes coming from this. Disney's *very* good at company continuity regarding their executives. VERY good. The mantra seems to be "implement not reinvent".
    Credibility is to be sought for. Credulity is not. Sadly the latter is our normal human state.

  3. #3

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    Re: Steven Clark Departure at D23

    Thanks Dusty

  4. #4

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    Re: Steven Clark Departure at D23

    Not sure that continuity among executives thing is true... Alan Horn is not Rich Ross. Iger is not Eisner. - Truth is drawing from "brand strength" you can go pretty far even if your actions could shoot yourself in the foot...

    D23 needs major changes. Though it does keep improving... They just are STILL not quite where they need to be yet outside the Expo.
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    Re: Steven Clark Departure at D23

    I REALLY hope the next expo is run more smoothly and has more to offer than the previous ones. They gotta go bigger and better!

  6. #6

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    Re: Steven Clark Departure at D23

    I am afraid that according to two personal friends of Steven he was let go. In addition, D23 is very much on the bubble as the jury is out on the actual success of this venture. At best the reviews are 50/50, but most feel Steven should not have been dropped into that world since his main job originally was corporate communication which was primary internally focused. He was not equipped to manage this program from day 1 and only hired to his weakness with others who did no have the event experience. This business unit should have sat with the parks where the firm understanding of how to run an event is supposed to be a common way of life. There could be a last Hail Mary since there is supposed to be a pending announcement of his replacement and D23 is still going to be a big part of the new persons responsibilities. Word on the street is if this can't be turned into a viable business then it will go away.

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    Re: Steven Clark Departure at D23

    It can be a viable business, but it has to be managed as a business. For a concept that is supposed to appeal to Disney's most ardent fans, there is virtually no presence within the parks, a result of corporate in-fighting that I don't think D23's current team have done anything to help. These are ego-driven (not egotistical) individuals within a major company that has a reputation of being highly competitive; the person who heads D23 needs to be a diplomat, needs to understand the role marketing plays in positioning the D23 business, and needs to have at least SOME head for business.

    D23 can be successful. D23 SHOULD be successful. But it needs to be able to define itself other than simply "the Disney fan club," and needs to embrace the idea that it is a centralized group for a highly decentralized company. If this person can find a way to satisfy the executives within the Parks and Resorts group, within the Motion Pictures group, within the Interactive group, within the Consumer Products group, etc., and position D23 as an entity that can help SUPPORT these business units, it can possibly succeed. But if it's going to play the "we're Burbank, you're just here to do our bidding" game, it's doomed to failure.

    D23 needs to start all over again. It needs to define itself well within the Disney organization, SELL itself to Disney business units, and only then reposition itself with fans and find ways to leverage the power of Disney's parks and resorts as a primary selling tool. (When was the last time you saw ANY collateral for D23 within the parks?) It needs to begin at the very beginning, by figuring out what it wants to be and how it needs to get there.

    I've never sensed that D23 had any concept in mind other than "being a fan club." What IS that concept? I am not entirely sure. But it's likely not called "D23," and is probably more akin to the old Magic Kingdom Club, which produced Disney News.

    The funny thing is, once you strip away ABC and ESPN (which from a branding standpoint SHOULD be stripped away; they make a lot of money but are not intrinsically Disney), the Disney brand has actually gotten smaller in the past 20 years, not bigger. It is more simple than ever to define Disney and focus on what makes it special. If the flimsy, quarterly Disney News could do it three decades ago, certainly Disney's more sophisticated, more marketing-focused organization can do it today, even with Marvel, Muppets and Lucasfilm.

    D23 needs someone with vision. I hope they find that person!

  8. #8

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    Re: Steven Clark Departure at D23

    I'll miss Steven... I had a nice chat with him when I was on the Star Tours last flight as we were leaving the park together. (The weirdness of walking through the park at 2am was what started it). Really nice guy who really loved Disney.
    That said though, I did get some impression from something he said that he spent all of his time in Burbank than elsewhere (Parks, etc) in the company.

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