Financial issues with a new Walt Disney Co.
resort scheduled to open this month in Hawaii prompted the company to suspend all time-share sales for the project and force out three executives, including the president of its Celebration-based time-share business, according to several people familiar with the events.
Disney on Friday fired Jim Lewis, president of Disney Vacation Club, the company's time-share division. The company also dismissed Jim Heaney, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Disney Cruise Line
and travel operations, and Lawrence Smith, a former director of finance for Disney Vacation Club who was most recently with food-and-beverage operations for Walt Disney World
The dismissals followed an internal investigation into problems surrounding Aulani, an estimated $850 million hotel and time share scheduled to open Aug. 29 on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Plans call for the resort to have 460 Disney Vacation Club time shares and 359 conventional hotel rooms.
Disney said Monday evening it had appointed Claire Bilby, a 23-year company veteran who had most recently been senior vice president of distribution marketing and Asia Pacific sales, to run its time-share business. Bilby's title will be senior vice president of Disney Vacation Club.