Barbara Bouza Named Head of Walt Disney Imagineering, Bob Weis Now “Global Imagineering Ambassador”

Bob Weis, who has served as president of Walt Disney Imagineering since 2016, has stepped into the role of Global Imagineering Ambassador as Barbara Bouza is named President of WDI, according to a report from WDWNT that was confirmed by Disney.

What’s Happening:

  • A shift in leadership has occurred at Walt Disney Imagineering with Barbara Bouza being named as President of Walt Disney Imagineering as Bob Weis steps into the role of Global Imagineering Ambassador, a title once held by Disney Legend Marty Sklar.
  • A letter to his colleagues penned by Weis confirmed his departure:

“As Imagineers, we are inspired by our history and by those who helped shape it. Disney Legend Marty Sklar — who was a close friend and mentor to me — served as a visionary leader at Imagineering for over five decades and, ultimately, became our Global Imagineering Ambassador. In this role, Marty was able to invest in our legacy as a way to build our future, mentor and advocate for our talent, recruit the next generations of Imagineers, and help record our history through his writing.

Today, I am excited to announce that I will follow Marty’s lead and assume the Global Imagineering Ambassador role beginning next year. I am confident about transitioning into this role now after working with Barbara Bouza over the past 16 months and knowing that the future of Imagineering is secure under her leadership. Barbara has taken on increasing responsibility during her tenure, and I am continually impressed with her talent, her leadership and the relationships she’s already built across our company. I’m also very grateful to have the full support of Josh D’Amaro, who has demonstrated his commitment to Imagineering time and time again and his belief that WDI is critical to our company’s future and overall success.”

  • Weis was named president of Walt Disney Imagineering back in 2016, after being responsible for all creative and design aspects of the Shanghai Disney Resort project. He started at Walt Disney Imagineering in 1980, having major creative roles in the development of the  Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios) and Tokyo DisneySea. He left in 1994 to found his own design business, but returned to WDI in 2007 to oversee development during the transformation of Disney California Adventure and the Cars Land Expansion.

Bob Weis in "Walt Disney World: A Dream Come True" (1986)

Bob Weis in "Walt Disney World: A Dream Come True" (1986)

  • Back in June of 2020, Bouza joined the company, bringing more than 25 years of groundbreaking design and strategic planning experience with her. In March of this year, a reorganization of WDI leadership left Weis as the President of WDI for Creative and New Experiences and Bouza named president of WDI for Business Management, Design, and Development.
  • Today’s news names Bouza president of Walt Disney Imagineering, where she will head the global creative, design and development teams behind Disney’s theme parks, attractions, resort hotels, cruise ships, and retail, dining and entertainment centers. She also leads a multidisciplinary team tasked with exploring, developing and bringing to market groundbreaking ideas that enhance and expand Disney’s global portfolio of experiences.
  • This change is just the latest in several at Walt Disney Imagineering, including the relocation of the division alongside Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products (DPEP) to a new campus outside of Orlando, Florida in a new facility being built in the Lake Nona neighborhood.

More About Barbara Bouza:

  • Barbara previously served as co-managing director, principal, of Gensler Los Angeles. In this collaborative leadership role, she brought strategic design management to highly innovative clients such as Netflix, Amgen, JPL/NASA, Debbie Allen, and City of Hope. A fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), she was the 2019 AIA Los Angeles president, and also served on the board of the Southern California chapter of the International Interior Design Association.
  • In the community, Barbara was recognized by The Los Angeles Business Journal as Executive of the Year: Women Making a Difference. This honor recognizes women who lead by example, successfully blending effective business vision with passionate commitment to positively making a difference, both in the business world and in the communities they serve. She has also been named by Real Estate Forum magazine as a Woman of Influence: California.
  • Barbara is on the board of directors of Imagine LA, a leading not-for-profit dedicated to mobilizing the community to end the cycle of family homelessness and poverty, and is a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects and the Women Presidents’ Organization. Additionally, she works with nonprofit organizations such as Girls Inc. and Dress for Success.
  • Barbara holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and studied in the Graduate Diploma Program at the Architectural Association in London.

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