Walt Disney Co. has named Christine M. McCarthy as its new CFO, making her the highest-ranking female executive in its history.
McCarthy moves up the corporate ladder after 15 years as Disney’s treasurer and replaces Jay Rasulo, who stepped down this month after being passed over for the job of chief operating officer. She joins the ranks of other prominent female CFOs, including Google’s Ruth Porat and Marianne Lake at JPMorgan Chase.
Women account for about 11% of the CFOs at companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.
“Christine has done an incredible job as Disney’s treasurer over the past 15 years, and her strong leadership and keen financial acumen make her an ideal chief financial officer,” Disney CEO Robert Iger said in a news release. “She is highly respected in the finance sector and in this new role she will have even more impact on creating value for Disney shareholders.”
The Wall Street Journal noted that McCarthy’s promotion “reflects a company tradition of internal hiring for key positions.” Rasulo landed the CFO spot in 2010 after rising through the Disney ranks.
“The Street investors haven’t had much time to get to know Christine McCarthy,” Barton Crockett, media analyst at FBR Capital Markets, told the WSJ. Nonetheless, if you’ve risen to be treasurer at Disney, he said, “the assumption is you’re very good.”
McCarthy said she was “humbled and honored” to be entrusted with the role of CFO. “I look forward to working with our talented senior management team as we build on the company’s financial strength and strong balance sheet to deliver shareholder value,” she said.
Before joining Disney, McCarthy held various finance and planning positions at First Interstate Bancorp, serving as CFO from 1997 to 2000. She has a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and an MBA from UCLA.
As treasurer, McCarthy was responsible for corporate real estate in addition to her financial role. In her new job she will earn a salary of $1.25 million and be eligible for a bonus and stock awards of 4.5 times that amount, Disney said in a regulatory filing Tuesday.