BURBANK, Calif. October 14, 2003 – Matt Ouimet, a 14-year Disney veteran and president of the Disney Cruise Line, has been promoted to president of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, it was announced today by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts president, Jay Rasulo. Ouimet will report to Rasulo and replaces outgoing president Cynthia Harriss who resigned for personal reasons.
“Matt’s deep understanding of the brand, focus on the quality of the guest experience and demonstrated ability to manage complex operations will be a tremendous asset in driving the continued growth of the Disneyland Resort. In addition to his exceptional leadership skills, Matt has a proven track record of success having built the Disney Cruise Line into one of our strongest businesses,” said Rasulo.
“Disneyland has been a symbol of magic and imagination since Walt Disney first opened the gates nearly 50 years ago. It is truly an honor for me to join the cast of this very special place. I look forward to working with the team to showcase the legacy of Disneyland as we approach the Golden 50th Anniversary in 2005,” said Ouimet.
“We all thank Cynthia for her 11 years of dedicated service to the Walt Disney Company,” said Rasulo. “I respect her decision knowing that she will be successful in any future endeavor. I know the cast of the Disneyland Resort joins me in wishing her well.”
“This was a very difficult personal decision,” Harriss said, “but it is the right time to step down in order to ensure a timely transition as the Disneyland Resort approaches its most important milestone. I am grateful to the leadership team and cast who helped create so many special memories over the past six years and I am proud of everything we accomplished in our expansion of the Disneyland park to a resort destination,” Harriss continued.
Ouimet joined The Walt Disney Company in 1989 and over the last 14 years has held leadership positions in real estate development, finance and business development. He has held a series of executive positions that include senior vice president and chief financial officer at the Disney Development Company (now part of Walt Disney Imagineering) and senior vice president of Finance and Business Development at the Walt Disney World Resort as well as executive general manager of Disney Vacation Club and Disney’s Wide World of Sports.
Since becoming president of Disney Cruise Line in 1999, Ouimet oversaw the establishment of this exciting business as a successful element of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts portfolio. Under his leadership, the Disney Cruise Line grew into one of the country’s premier cruise operators. His focus on the guest experience has resulted in the highest guest satisfaction ratings of all of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts vacation experiences.
Active in Florida’s business community, Ouimet serves as the chairman of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and on the Board of Directors for the International Council of Cruise Lines and the Floridian Caribbean Cruise Association.
A native of upstate New York, Ouimet is a graduate of Binghamton University. He and his family will begin the transition to California immediately.
Karl Holz, senior vice president for Walt Disney World operations has been named President of the Disney Cruise Line effective immediately, said Walt Disney World president Al Weiss in a simultaneous announcement in Orlando. As a senior member of the Walt Disney World leadership team, Karl had direct responsibility for Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Downtown Disney, and 10,000 resort hotel rooms and vacation club units.
“Karl’s strong leadership and operational expertise make him a great choice to lead the Disney Cruise Line,” Jay Rasulo said. “Karl is fortunate to have a very talented team of leaders to work with in order to learn the unique aspects of the cruise business,” Rasulo said.
Holz began his career with Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort in 1996 as vice president, Downtown Disney where he oversaw the successful expansion of the shopping, dining and entertainment district. In 2000, Holz became the vice president of Epcot and in 2001 was promoted to senior vice president of operations. Prior to joining Disney, Holz was vice president of theme parks for Knott’s Berry Farm and was also the president and COO with Sky Chefs/Concession Air. Karl, born in Germany, has a B.S. in Business Administration from The State University of New York, Fredonia.
“Matt and Karl epitomize the strong leadership skills and broad range of talents at every level of the Parks and Resorts management team. The wide-ranging experience they bring to their new roles ensures a seamless transition. I am delighted that they will be contributing in new ways to the success of our business,” added Rasulo.