Mike White assumed his role in February 2022, during the height of the metaverse buzz.
In February 2022, Disney decided to transition Mike White, previously their senior vice president of next-generation storytelling and consumer experiences, to spearhead its metaverse direction.
White’s elevation coincided with burgeoning intrigue surrounding the metaverse concept, a time when NFTs were flying off the shelves, and Facebook was unveiling its rebrand to Meta. Concurrently, businesses spanning media, retail, and fashion started to designate heads for their digital forays, with some even introducing the title of Chief Metaverse Officer.
Bob Chapek, the sitting CEO when White joined the team, expressed Disney’s enthusiastic commitment to the digital realm. “We stand on the precipice of crafting an entirely novel paradigm for how audiences immerse in and engage with our narratives. Aligning with our core strategic tenets—stellar storytelling, groundbreaking innovation, and prioritizing our audience—I see the ‘metaverse’ as the upcoming monumental shift in narrative experience.”
Yet, the subsequent cryptocurrency market downturn and prevailing economic unpredictability led many firms to scale back, with their metaverse units often being the first on the chopping block. Disney, despite its resilience, disbanded its metaverse department by March. While the decision impacted all 50 members of the unit, reports suggested White would retain a position within Disney, though the specifics remained under wraps.
Disney, maintaining silence on its future plans for Web3 and the metaverse, also refrained from commenting on White’s transition.