Kevin A. Mayer is the current head of the Walt Disney Company’s Disney + operation. He leads one of the largest and most influential media companies on the planet today. What does it take to become the leader of this type organization? It is a feat for anyone in the business world to rise to such high levels of leadership and it’s something that takes years of education and preparation to achieve. We were interested in knowing more about Mayer and his rise to the top of the media industry and we learned some fascinating facts along the way. His life and the choices that he has made offers an example of how entrepreneurs and young business majors may want to go about building their own professional curriculum vitae, so here are 20 things you didn’t know about Kevin Mayer that you might find helpful.
1. He has an Ivy League education
Kevin realized the value of an education as a foundation to going anywhere in the corporate business world. While there are some business leaders who worked their way through the ranks with just a bachelor’s degree, he knew that the more education and credentialing, the better. Mr. Mayer completed high school education and enrolled in the mechanical engineering progrm at the Masschusetts Institute of Technology, also known as MIT. He earned his bachelor’s of science degree (BSME), from the prestigious school
2. While he was at MIT he got involved
Mayer didn’t just go to classes and do his work. He enrolled in MIT in 1980 and spent 4 years there, earning his degree in 1984. During the time that he was there, he became involved in different activities and societies. He was a member of the varsity football team and he was also a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. Anyone who is planning to pursue higher education beyond an undegraduate degree should think about the requirements of any school they are considering, as Mayer did because involvement in societies, sports and other activites counts towards points that will give you an edge in competitive enrollment caps. Ivy League schools tend to take the cream of the crop and only a small percentage of applicants are approved for admission.
3. He continued his education
After graduating from MIT with his undergraduate degree, Kevin took a few years break from school to work and prepare for the next phase of his life. In 1986, he was accepted in the graduate program at the San Diego State University. He enrolled in the electrical engineering program at the school. He spent two years working on his graduate degree. In 1988 he graduated with his MSEE degree, which is a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, complimentary to his undergraduate degree and showing a higher level of knowledge in the field. He was on his way to becoming an expert.
4. He worked while he studied
In Kevin Mayer’s case, he was gainfully employed while he was at San Diego State University. He had a night job and kept working through the entire program, while attending classes during the day. This shows a solid dedication to building his educational foundation, but he kept money coming in to pay the bills while he worked towards the degree. It involved a big sacrifice but it was one that he was willing to make to prepare for his future.
5. He didn’t stop to take a break
Mayer graduated with his first master’s degree in 1988 and with the degree newly in hand he didn’t miss a beat as he had done the preparatory work and applied to admission to the Harvard Business School in its MBA program. While some may wonder why he pursued two master’s degrees, the explanation is simple. The first masters was in electrical engineering and it augmented his expertise as an electrical engineer. The second was from a highly prestigious Ivy League institution with a stellar reputation in the business world. It was about reputation and respect for the degree as well as the fact that the Harvard degree was in business administration. This was key in giving him the educational credentials for leadership of a larger company and the three degrees combined create a truly impressive and very powerful educational background. He received his MBA in General Management from the Harvard Business School in 1990.
6. He joined Disney in 1993
Mayer had been finished with college for three years when he secured a position at Disney. His first job with the company was in the Disney Interactive Internet and television business global. He ws charged with handling business development and strategy for this division. It wasn’t long before he was promote to the job of senior executive vice president and chief strategy officer, managing their acquisitions.
7. Mayer led major acquisitions
Kevin Mayer established a solid reputation for his managemetn of several major acquisitions made by the Walt Disney Company. He served as the leader for the acquisition of Marvel Entertainment, Lucasfilm and Pixar. He was also involved in directing the divestitures of ABC Radio and Miramax. Growth, expansion and strategic management of the company’s resources and future interests were high stakes dealings that he oversaw with a huge amount of responsibility for making the right choices and completing the deals satisfactorily.
8. He became CEO of Playboy.com
In February of 2000, Mayer made the decision to accept a position offered to him from Playboy Enterprises of Chicago, Illinois. He was hired as the Chief Executive Officer of Playboy.com which is a subsidiary of the larger parent company. Playboy.com is a digital pornography company. While it seems to be a serious conflict of interest for a man to have worked at Disney and Playboy he left Playboy in September of that year having only served as the CEO for 7 months.
9. He worked for Clear Channel Interactive
When Mayer left Playboy, he had another offer waiting for him that was not in the pornography industry. He accepted a position with Clear Channel Interactive in September of 2000 with no gap in his employment history. In essence he got a better offer and took it. He was made the CEO and Chairman of the subsidiary company which is a part of the larger Clear Channel Worldwide firm. He stayed on as the CEO until December of 2001.
10. Mayer became a consulting partner
Once again, Mr. Mayer moved up the corporate chain in the media word. In February of 2002, he joined the L.E.K. Cosulting LLC firm. He joined as the head of its global media and entertainment practice and as a partner. This is yet one more impressive inclusion on his resume showing extensive experience with multiple aspects of the media industry.
11. Kevin Mayer went back to Disney in 2005
After going out into the corporate world of the media industry and gaining a lot of new experiences in various aspects of management and leadership, Kevin rejoined hte Walt Disney Company. he was hired on as the Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy, Business Development, and Technology. This appointment came in June of 2005 and by October of the same year he was promoted to an executive officer.
12. He leveraged high stakes acquisitions
In addition to teh purchase of Lucasfilm, Marvel Entertainment and Pixar, Mayer also led Disney in the purchase of Maker Studios, and Club Penguin. He oversaw the sale of Miramax to Filmyard Holdings in 2010, and was involved in the acquisition of the majority of 21st Century Fox assets in 2017. The same year Disney acquired BAMTech, and the CEO of the subsidiary then began reporting to Mayer.
13. He received another promotion in 2018
In March of 2018, Kevin Mayer was recognized for his efficient and successful leadership efforts as well as his stragetic planning in teh business end of th company and he was named the chair of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International. This was a new segment division that includes ad sales, distribution, international challels and various streaming businesses. At this time Mayer reported to Disney’s former CEO Bob Iger.
14. Mayer has a reputation as a “fierce competitor
Kevin Mayer has done a lot of different things in the media industry. He has been referred to a “fierce competititor” within the media industry. It is obvious by the success of Disney that he knows what he is doing in his strategic planning, acquisition and sales of some multi-billion dollar companies when they were either assets under Disney’s control, or earmarked to become such. He’s savvy when it comes to striking a business deal and he knows what he’s doing when it comes to protecting the company’s interests. he’s also known as being fair, but he does Place Disney’s well-being as a top priority. He usually achieves a goal he’s aimed for.
15. He’s not afraid of the competition
Mayer will go head to head with some of the biggest names in the media industry and not bat an eye. Disney is still in the process of more fully developing their new streaming service. It’s just one of their recent endeavors and it has the established providers feeling nervous. They’re coming in with the potential to be a major disruptor to the status quo. Mayer is taking on the big boys at YouTube, amazon and Netflix in this endeavor.
16. He’s in charge of the global operation and personalization
Mayer has the skills and ability to oversee Disney media operations all over the entire world. The company is massive and the new streaming service will offer their new products to people in countries throughout the globe. This is a major undertaking for Disney and it does represent some degree of risk because there are already hefty and more established competitors in the streaming business. Mayer is leading a unique effort on the part of Disney to make their streaming services personalized for consumers all over the world.
17. He has high stakes responsibility
Currently in his role as Chairman and Direct-to Consumer and International, Mayer is overseeing operations tht are provide over 350 channels to 170 countries throughout the world. This includes overseeing regional teams from Latin America to Europe and Asia.
18. He takes the time to teach others
As an alumni of the Harvard Business School, Mr. Mayer makes sure to allocate the time in his busy schedule to pay them a visit. He has made several appearances to Aldrich Hall where he offers his wisdom to the future CEOs of the world at lectures and forums. He does the best that he can to answer questions from each group and his answers are always very honest and candid.
19. Harvard Business School has extended an open door to Mayer
This prestigious institution is always pleased with Mr. Mayer can come to speak to their students. He has been through most phases of high level leadership and he knows what it takes to get your foot in the door. Having him come to the school as a guest speaker is a great honor for the Ivy League institutuion and this tells us that Mr. Mayer has achieved a high level of respect not only in the business world, but in the academic world as well.
20. Mr. Mayer was a silly and happy kid
We’d like to close our 20 things about Kevin Mayer with a little bit about his early years. A classmate of his, named Bobby Barse shraed that as a kid, Kevin was fun to be with and “kind of silly,” and “a happy-go-lucky-kid.” The quote he shared in high school was “You can food some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of th time. And that is usually sufficient.” He offered this perspective while attending Charles W. Woodward High in suburban Maryland where he was raised. His mother served on a county appeals board and his father was a labor lawyer. His brother Michael Mayer is a Tony Award winning theater director.