Walt Disney beefs up Euro comms support

PARIS/LONDON: The Walt Disney Company is ramping up its corporate PR across Europe, having unveiled a series of top comms hires.

Pharma marcoms stalwart Beatrice Mathieu-de Lacharriere has taken the top communications job at Disneyland Paris.

Porter Novelli, meanwhile, has won an issues management and corporate brief for the company.

Mathieu-de Lacharriere formerly worked for drugs giants such as Glaxo, Aventis Pasteur and, more recently, Bristol-Myers Squibb. She joins at a crucial time for Eurodisney, which lost its turnaround specialist CEO Andre Lacroix in May.

Her primary task is to build confidence in a corporate revival for the French theme park.

Claudia Henrys has also joined Disney as Munich-based director of corporate comms for northern, eastern and central Europe. She moved from Shell, where she worked in public affairs.

Nathalie Dray, meanwhile, is to take a similar role to Henrys', covering southern Europe and Africa. She will be based in Paris after a five-year stint at Yahoo! France.

The three hires follow the appointment of former Department for Culture, Media and Sport comms boss Siobhan Kenny as V-P of comms for Disney TV across EMEA (PRWeek, 24 June).

Explaining the appointments, London-based V-P of corporate comms for EMEA, Joyce Lorigan, said: 'We want to boost understanding of Disney among European corporate audiences - and Europe's contribution to Disney globally.'

The US-based company's annual revenues from Europe have surged in recent years, with the Continent now accounting for around $4.7bn of the movies-to-publishing giant's yearly income stream.

Further details on PN's contract are undisclosed.

- Talk PR has emerged victorious in Disney's competitive pitch for an agency to relaunch The Muppets in the UK.

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