By: J Lewis-Jones
Disneyland Paris announced yesterday (12 December 2018) that Catherine Powell has been replaced by Natacha Rafalski as Présidente of Disneyland Paris, effective immediately.
The promotion of Natacha Rafalski sees Daniel Delcourt, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Disneyland Paris once again overlooked for promotion.
Natacha Rafalski has had a 23-year career with The Walt Disney Company, holding a variety of senior leadership positions throughout the world. She joined the Disneyland Paris team in 2017 as Chief Financial Officer after the departure of the resorts long standing CFO Mark Stead. Since then she has taken on responsibility for real estate, transformation, corporate alliances and operating participants.
The announcement comes from Catherine Powell, who recently served as Présidente of the resort before being promoted to President of the Disney Parks Western Region in March 2018 and now has responsibility for Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris.
“It is a very exciting time for Disneyland Paris as we continue to transform our organization and move forward with the expansion of our resort,” said Catherine Powell. “Natacha has proven to be an exceptional leader with a global viewpoint who has the versatility and experience needed to lead the continued success of Disneyland Paris.”
In this role Natacha Rafalski will be responsible for bringing Disney magic to life for nearly 15 million guests each year at Disneyland Paris, Europe’s top tourist destination and the beacon of Disney in the region. She leads a multinational team of 16,000 Cast Members and oversees two theme parks, eight themed hotels, a 27-hole golf course and Disney Village, a themed dining entertainment and shopping destination. She will also oversee the ambitious expansion plan for The Walt Disney Studios Park announced earlier this year.
“I am incredibly honoured and excited to assume this position at such a transformational time for the resort,” said Natacha Rafalski. “France holds a special place in my heart, and I’m looking forward to leading and growing the business as we continue to build on and expand the promise of Europe’s top tourist destination.”
Prior to joining the Disneyland Paris team Natacha Rafalski was CFO for The Walt Disney Company Greater China headquartered in Shanghai between October 2013 and October 2017. During that time, she provided instrumental leadership related to various major strategic initiatives and spearheaded work that continues to drive long-term financial growth to that region.
She began her career with Disney in 1995 and has held various positions in corporate treasury and finance including a key role on the Shanghai Disney Resort negotiation team. Prior to this she held roles that included oversight for corporate finance and projects related to Disneyland Paris.
Natacha Rafalski has been a key champion and leader for Diversity and Inclusion at Disneyland Paris, establishing a woman’s leadership group, D Elles P and encouraging Cast Members to form a network dedicated to women. In addition to the many initiatives she continues to lead for Disneyland Paris, she was among the 2017 winners of Profiles in Diversity Journal’s 16th Annual Women Worth Watching® Awards.
Natacha Rafalski was born in Montreal, Canada, and raised just outside of Paris, France. She holds an M.B.A. in Finance from Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California at Los Angeles and a B.A. in Mathematics/Economics, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of California.