The news of Karl Holz’ departure from the Paris resort has been bubbling under the surface for quite some time, and now it is confirmed. The popular Chairman and CEO, who successfully implemented several major new attractions, new advertising, refurbishments across the resort and the spectacular 15th Anniversary celebration will be leaving Disneyland Resort Paris on 1st September.

His successor, Philippe Gas, has a strong background in Human Resources for Disney Parks and a 17-year history with the mouse, more than half of which was spent in Paris.

Here is the press release in full:


Marne-la-Vallée, April 11, 2008 … Euro Disney S.C.A. today announced the nomination of Philippe Gas to the position of Président of Euro Disney S.A.S., the management company of Euro Disney S.C.A. and Euro Disney Associés S.C.A., the operator of Disneyland® Resort Paris. Philippe will take over the responsibilities of Karl Holz who has been appointed President, New Vacation Operations, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

James A. Rasulo, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts said: ‘ Philippe’s 17 years of Disney experience, more than half of which was spent at Disneyland Resort Paris, along with his expertise in human resources ideally prepares him to lead Euro Disney’s team of 12,300 cast members. Together with the strong international management team, Philippe is committed to the Company’s long-term strategy and to its continued growth as Europe’s number 1 tourist destination’.

Philippe’s appointment will be effective on September 1, 2008. He will transition into this new role over the summer, working closely with Karl to ensure continued commitment to the Company’s long term strategic priorities : driving results towards profitability ; providing a high-quality guest experience ; and developing our cast members.

Philippe Gas, 44 and a 17-year Disney veteran, has extensive experience with both Euro Disney and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts worldwide. After having completed his master of law from the University of Paris Assas, he joined the Disney organization in 1991 as Finance Controller and was a member of the opening team at Disneyland Resort Paris. Over the next six years, he held a variety of positions at the Resort. In 1997, he was promoted to Director, Corporate Compensation and moved to The Walt Disney Company headquarters in Burbank, California. In 2000, he served as Regional Vice President, Human Resources, The Walt Disney Company Asia-Pacific, overseeing the HR strategy in 13 countries in Asia … first based in Tokyo and then in Hong Kong.

In 2004, he returned to Disneyland Resort Paris as Senior Vice President, Human Resources, where he was responsible for all HR Operations for its more than 12,300 cast members. In 2005 he was appointed Senior Vice President, International Human Resources, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and in 2006, he was promoted to his current position as Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts worldwide. In this role, he is responsible for the Human Resources strategy and services for nearly 100,000 Cast Members.

Philippe said : ‘ I am pleased to return to Disneyland Resort Paris, where I started my Disney career to build on the solid foundation which Karl and the leadership team have achieved. I look forward to working with the cast to continue delivering high-quality Disney experience for all of our guests’.

Karl Holz joined the group in 2004 as Chief Operating Officer, following roles as Senior Vice President of Operations at Walt Disney World and subsequently president of the entire Disney Cruise Line. Although unnoticed at the time, his move to operations at Disneyland Resort Paris was clearly a strategic one on the group’s behalf, with Holz swiftly moving to chairman duties as soon as brief former CEO André Lacroix had finalised the group’s financial restructuring.

His move to new opportunities within The Walt Disney Company makes clear the very positive current position of Disneyland Resort Paris — with record visitor numbers last year and increasing profits, it seems Holz is now better placed as president of an area still needing help — New Vacation Operations, which we understand to include their ‘Adventures by Disney’ travel programme.

Moving back to Disneyland Resort Paris and assuming top duties at Euro Disney SAS, Philippe Gas brings with him an undeniably strong background in Human Resources and experience with Disney Cast Members. After seeing out the 15th Anniversary, Philippe faces the heavy challenge of producing a successful follow-up and retaining the record figures brought in by those recent investments.

We wish him the best of luck.

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