Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross resigned on Friday, a month after the massive box-office flop suffered by critically-panned sci-fi fantasy film John Carter.
The 15-year Disney veteran made no reference to the movie — which lost about US$200 million — in his resignation statement, while Disney president and CEO Bob Iger paid tribute to Ross’ “business acumen and personal integrity.”
“For the past 15 years, I have had the opportunity to work with incredibly talented people on behalf of the world’s best-loved brand,” Ross said in the statement issued by the entertainment giant.
“But, the best people need to be in the right jobs, in roles they are passionate about, doing work that leverages the full range of their abilities,” added Ross, who had been chairman for two-and-a-half years.
“I no longer believe the chairman role is the right professional fit for me. For that reason, I have made the very difficult decision to step down as chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, effective today,” he said.
Iger paid tribute to Ross, saying: “For more than a decade, Rich Ross’s creative instincts, business acumen and personal integrity have driven results in key businesses for Disney.”
“His vision and leadership opened doors for Disney around the world, making our brand part of daily life for millions of people. I appreciate his countless contributions throughout his entire career at Disney, and expect he will have tremendous success in whatever he chooses to do next,” he added.
Disney has said it would take the huge operating loss on John Carter, made by Oscar-winning director Andrew Stanton about a US Civil War veteran transplanted to Mars, in its second fiscal quarter. Starring Taylor Kitsch and Willem Dafoe, the movie cost an estimated US$250 million, but was met with a chorus of derision from critics when it was released earlier this month.
It was the first live-action movie for Stanton, who won best-animated-film Oscars for Finding Nemo in 2004 and Wall-E in 2009. He also wrote for all three Toy Story movies as well as Monsters, Inc.