Kareem Daniel: From Intern to Chairman At Disney
If he weren’t so smart, the somewhat meteoric rise of Kareem Daniel would be shocking. However, Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who hired Daniel as an intern recently called the now 46-year-old Disney Chairman of Media and Entertainment Distribution, “brilliant.”
“[Daniel] is a brilliant executive who has an unbelievable objectivity when it comes to fact-based decision making,” reported Bloomberg of Chapek. “It perfectly positions him to be the right guy to make decisions.
“Not because there’s a legacy of the business, but because it’s right for today,” he said.
Daniel: Right For Today
That last piece of the Chapek quote should be the most important takeaway for Disney fans and investors.
Chapek, who took over for longtime Disney CEO Bob Iger in February, has been quickly putting his stamp on the entertainment giant — even as the coronavirus pandemic clobbered its theme-parks, movies and live-sports businesses. In August, Chapek said he intended to accelerate the company’s push into streaming, which is enjoying a boom with so many families stuck at home. A reorganization he announced Monday underscores the shift by aligning all of the company’s TV and film businesses into one central effort.
And Daniel will be a big part of that streamlined effort.
A Love For Movies
However, the effort remains couched in a true love for content.
“One of the biggest outlets I had growing up was seeing movies with my older cousin almost every weekend,” he told interviewers. “I have always loved movies, but growing up, I never imagined that there was a business side to entertainment. I just had no idea. After college, I started to realize that there is something there.”
Hopefully, that something really brings an innovative approach so necessary to Disney’s work across all of its businesses.
Chapek on Daniel: “No one better…”
Chapek certainly thinks so.
“Kareem is an exceptionally talented, innovative and forward-looking leader, with a strong track record for developing and implementing successful global content distribution and commercialization strategies,” said Chapek in a statement. “As we now look to rapidly grow our direct-to-consumer business, a key focus will be delivering and monetizing our great content in the most optimal way possible, and I can think of no one better suited to lead this effort than Kareem.
“His wealth of experience will enable him to effectively bring together the Company’s distribution, advertising, marketing and sales functions, thereby creating a distribution powerhouse that will serve all of Disney’s media and entertainment businesses.”
And, judging by a pasage from an interview with his high school alma mater, Morgan Park Academy, Kareem Daniel maintains both a will and drive to succeed:
“In eighth grade, there was a scholarship competition for high school and I got second place. I was told that I had missed first place by a very small margin, and everyone acted like I was supposed to be happy about that. I will never forget that feeling. How am I supposed to be happy about being second? I had never really considered the possibility of being No. 1 prior to that, but I remember that experience put it in my head that I always wanted to finish first.” Kareem Daniel