U of M Alum Named COO at Disney

Portrait of Tom Staggs speaking at commencement.

Tom Staggs, the chair of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, has been named the chief operating officer of The Walt Disney Company.

It’s only fitting that the No. 2 executive for the entertainment giant started off in the performance world himself. Staggs was a member of two bands and two ensembles at Minnetonka High School, and began as a music major at the U of M before switching to business. He earned a BS from the Carlson School in 1982, then got an MBA at Stanford.
Staggs worked in investment banking at Dain Bosworth and Morgan Stanley before joining Disney in 1990 as manager of strategic planning. He was only 37 when then-CEO Michael Eisner named him CFO. He’ll continue to lead Disney’s Parks and Resorts division until a successor is named.

“It’s a privilege to step into this role, and I am humbled and honored by the opportunity,” Staggs said in a news release.

Humility was one of the themes in the commencement address Staggs delivered to Carlson School graduates this past spring.

“One of the dangerous things about success is that it can kill your interest in introspection,” he said to the class of 2014. “It takes confidence to admit that you don’t have all the right answers. … Humility is just as important to long-term success as self-confidence.”

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities