Disney management reshuffle puts China in center stage

The Walt Disney Company is throwing more weight into its Asia management line up, with 16-year Disney veteran Paul Candland taking on a newly created role as president of The Walt Disney Company in Asia.

The new role gives Candland, president of Walt Disney Japan, additional oversight of markets from Korea, Southeast Asia and Greater China.

He will report directly to Andy Bird, chairman Walt Disney International.

Additionally, Stanley Cheung, managing director of Disney Greater China, has been promoted to chairman, reporting into Bird.

Senior vice president Luke Kang will assume Cheung's former role as managing director of Disney Greater China, with direct oversight of Disney's businesses in Greater China, excluding Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, which report to Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs.

"Asia is a region of incredible growth and great promise for Disney, and these management changes are designed to ensure we maximize our opportunities there today and in the future," Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive of The Walt Disney Company, said in a statement.

"This new structure will bring greater focus and the ability to share best practices across businesses and countries as we grow strategically in Asian markets."

The restructure also gives greater emphasis to Disney's China operation, which is set to become its biggest international market in coming years.

"It is my belief that Greater China will become our biggest international market in the coming years," Bird said.

"The rapid emergence of mobile and digital platforms provides even more opportunities for us, and construction is underway for the largest Disney Store in the world and, of course, Shanghai Disney Resort."