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LPWire: Nick Franklin to Lead Disney Parks & Resorts Business in Japan

Nick Franklin to Lead Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Business in Japan
Ed Grier to Oversee Local Operations of Walt Disney Attractions Japan

Nick Franklin, senior vice president of International Development, has been appointed to oversee Disney's Parks and Resorts business in Japan, including Walt Disney Attractions Japan (WDAJ) and Disneyland International, it was announced today by Jay Rasulo, president, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Franklin, who will continue to report directly to Rasulo, will help align Disney's business in Japan with the Parks and Resorts' international growth strategy and lead efforts to expand Disney's presence in Japan and throughout Asia. In addition to these duties, Franklin will continue to oversee International Development for the Parks and Resorts segment.

Mas Imai, executive vice president of WDAJ and Disneyland International, will conclude his three-year assignment in Japan and return to the United States to work with the International Development team. Imai will be replaced by Ed Grier, a 23-year veteran with the company, who will be the on-site executive leader in Japan, heading both WDAJ and Disneyland International.

In this role, Grier will work in tandem with the Oriental Land Company, Ltd., the owners and operators of the Tokyo Disney Resort. Grier will report to Franklin.

"As the Tokyo Disney Resort enters its 21st year of operation, Nick and his team will work with our partner, Oriental Land Company, to build on the success of the Tokyo Disney Resort," said Rasulo. "As part of our international growth strategy, the team will also identify new opportunities for expansion, capitalizing on the broad appeal of the Disney brand in Japan. Nick's proven leadership skills, coupled with Ed's breadth of operations experience, will serve us well as we integrate our efforts in Japan with the Oriental Land Company as well as coordinate across our broader international development strategy.

"I also want to commend Mas for his efforts and dedication over the last several years," added Rasulo. "Mas has worked very closely with the Oriental Land Company and was instrumental in turning Tokyo Disney Resort into a full- scale vacation destination - helping to create one of the most popular tourist attractions in Asia."

Franklin, who has been with The Walt Disney Company for eight years, is responsible for leading the international expansion of the Parks and Resorts portfolio. Franklin's focus includes developing and capitalizing on the Disney brand in Asia, as well as other strategic areas of the world.

Franklin began his career at Mercer Management Consulting before joining Disney in 1996 in the Corporate Strategic Planning department. Over the next few years, Franklin held positions of increasing responsibility and worked on such projects as the development of Hong Kong Disneyland, the business strategy for Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, the launch of the ESPN Zone chain throughout the United States and the expansion of the Disneyland Resort in Southern California.

Franklin graduated from Princeton with a bachelor's degree in politics and holds an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School.

Grier joined Disney in 1981 and has held a number of positions at both Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort Paris in France, where he gained international experience as manager of Market Development and Planning.

Grier also served as manager of Attractions at the Disney-MGM Studios. In 1997, he was promoted to general manager of Disney-MGM Studios Operations and in 2004, he took on the role as general manager of Epcot.

Before joining Disney, Grier worked as a CPA for Ernst and Young. Grier has a bachelor's degree in accounting from Duquesne University in Pennsylvania.

--Posted August 16, 2004
Source: Disney Company