Kevin Mayer never worked on Parks during his 20-plus years as an executive at Disney – but he certainly knows what a rollercoaster 12 months feels like.
Mayer led the creation and launch of Disney+, the House Of Mouse’s subscription TV and film streaming service, which officially arrived in the US in November 2019.
Since that launch, Disney+ has exceeded all expectations, racking up over 60.5m paying global subscribers as of August this year.
Despite this runaway success, Mayer was overlooked for the CEO job at Disney, after the firm’s long-time leader, Bob Iger, announced he was stepping down in February. (The suddenly-vacant Disney CEO gig instead went to Bob Chapek.)
Following that snub, in June this year, Mayer left his role as Disney’s Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer & International (aka the company’s highest-ranking streaming executive) to join TikTok as the Bytedance platform’s first ever US-based CEO.
At the time, Mayer, who also served in a dual role as Bytedance’s global COO, said he was “excited to help lead the next phase of ByteDance’s journey”.
That “journey” ended up lasting less than three months. Amid turmoil caused by the Donald Trump administration’s demands for TikTok to sell off a chunk of its US business, Mayer resigned from TikTok/Bytedance in a shock exit in August.
Now, Mayer’s back in a role with a strong connection to the music business.
Access Industries, the majority owner of Warner Music Group, has announced that Mayer has joined its ranks as a “senior media adviser”.
“Kevin has an unrivalled depth of experience building successful global media and entertainment enterprises.”
Len Blavatnik, Access Industries
According to a press announcement, Mayer will “focus on Access’ strategic media-related businesses and identify new opportunities, across media, entertainment and telecommunications sectors, from wireless communications and production services to broadcast/streaming media and entertainment licensing ventures”.
Sounds like we can expect to see Mayer’s influence making an impact at Warner sooner rather than later.
In addition to WMG, Access Industries – founded and run by Sir Len Blavatnik – also owns a majority stake in music and audio streaming service Deezer, as well as other media and entertainment companies.
“Kevin has an unrivalled depth of experience building successful global media and entertainment enterprises,” said Blavatnik of the exec’s hiring. “He will bring invaluable knowledge and insight across a range of Access’s investment areas.”
Mayer said: “I look forward to helping Access build on the success of its leading media and entertainment businesses as a key component of my future endeavors.
“Len has created a company with a variety of impressive assets well positioned to move forward strongly in the years ahead.”
“I look forward to helping Access build on the success of its leading media and entertainment businesses as a key component of my future endeavors.”
In his most recent role at Disney, Mayer’s remit across direct-to-consumer and international covered Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and Hotstar, as well as the firm’s international media and studio operations, global ad sales and global content and channel sales.
Previously, as Disney’s Chief Strategy Officer, Mayer helped orchestrate the company’s acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and most of 21st Century Fox.
Mayer spent 22 years working at Disney in total, across two stints (1993-2000, and then 2005-2020).
In the interim, he served in roles including the CEO of Playboy.com, and the CEO of Clear Channel Interactive.Music Business Worldwide