Kevin Mayer, Tom Staggs Kevin Mayer, Tom Staggs

Former Disney executives and co-founders/owners of Candle Media, Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, have been recruited by The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger to act as consultants, according to a recent report by Puck.

Mayer was formerly chairman of direct-to-consumer and international at Disney, where he orchestrated the launch of Disney+. Staggs was CFO, parks chief, and COO at Disney before leaving the company in 2016. Both were considered likely candidates to succeed Bob Iger as Disney CEO; both were passed over.

Since leaving Disney, the two launched Candle Media, which purchased Cocomelon rightsholder Moonbug in November 2021.

According to reports, Mayers and Staggs have been brought in to consult on the future of ESPN, a Disney company that Iger is looking to shake up. Over the past several weeks, there have been several high-profile layoffs at the company and it’s clear that more changes are on the way at the sports network.

Goings on at ESPN don’t often overlap with the animation world, but Mayer and Staggs returning to Disney could have significant ramifications beyond the sports world going forward. Since launching Candle Media – with backing from Blackstone – in 2021, Mayer and Staggs have been buying up family-friendly production companies which operate in the same space as Disney.

What the return of Mayer and Staggs means is still a matter of speculation, but the possibility of Disney purchasing Candle Media or Moonbug doesn’t seem unrealistic, although the company is in cost-cutting mode at the moment. And many are suggesting that Iger’s choice to bring back Mayer and Staggs returns them at the top of the list to replace the CEO when his recently renewed contract runs out in 2026. Only time will tell.

Pictured at top: Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, taken from the Candle Media website.