PRESIDENT OF WALT DISNEY PARKS AND RESORTS
James A. Rasulo was named president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
in September 2002. In his role as President, he is responsible
for Disney’s renowned theme parks and resorts around the
world, including Disneyland Resort in California, Walt Disney World
Resort in Florida, Tokyo Disney Resort and Disneyland Resort Paris
in France. Rasulo also manages the long-term growth and international
expansion initiatives for the business, including the Hong Kong
Disneyland Resort scheduled to open in 2005/06.
In addition, Rasulo, 47, oversees the following business units:
the Disney Cruise Line; Walt Disney Imagineering, the organization
that designs and builds Disney theme parks, attractions and other
Disney Regional Entertainment, which includes the popular sports-themed
restaurants, ESPN Zone; and Anaheim Sports Inc., the management
company of the sports team franchises, and oversees the National
Hockey League's Mighty Ducks.
In 1998, Rasulo moved to Paris to become executive vice president,
Euro Disney S.C.A. and served as president and C.O.O. in 1999
until being named chairman and CEO in May of 2000 where he was
best known for the many growth initiatives that transformed Disneyland
Paris into the top tourist destination in Europe. Rasulo was
also at the helm during the March 2002 opening of the Disneyland
Paris Resort’s second park, Walt Disney Studios, which
marked the beginning of a new and exciting era.
In January of 2001, Rasulo welcomed the 100 millionth guest to
the Disneyland Paris Park and celebrated its 10th anniversary
in 2002. During his tenure at Disneyland Resort Paris, Rasulo oversaw
a massive period of real estate development and signed four major
hotel deals with European tour operators and hotel chains for
construction of two thousand new hotel rooms on the Euro Disney
property and surrounding area. Also under his leadership, the
Disney Village retail, entertainment and dining center has expanded
and seen record levels of revenue.
Rasulo first joined The Walt Disney Company in 1986 as director
and later became senior vice president of Corporate Strategic Planning
where he led strategy development for all real estate-based businesses
in The Walt Disney Company portfolio. He was senior vice president
of Corporate Alliances from 1993 – 1995, organizing the sponsorship
activities into a company wide strategic business unit. Rasulo
also spent three years with Disney Regional Entertainment where
he was part of the development of ESPN Zone.
Prior to joining the Walt Disney Company, Rasulo worked for Chase
Manhattan Bank in 1978 as an exchange rate/interest rate forecaster,
and then in 1984 became a manager of corporate planning for the
A native New Yorker, Rasulo graduated from Columbia in 1978 with
a degree in economics. He went on to earn an MA in Economics in
1982 and an MBA in 1984 both from the University of Chicago.
Among Rasulo’s many interests and affiliations, he is the
founding member of the Columbia University Club of France, and
a board member for the American Chamber of Commerce in France.
Rasulo is bi-lingual in English and French.
Rasulo is married with three children.
Noel Irwin Hentschel
As the co-founder, chairman and CEO of AmericanTours International
(ATI) Noel Irwin Hentschel, together with Michael Fitzpatrick,
has created one of America’s most successful travel organizations.
ATI, which was founded in 1977, brings more than 500,000 people
from 70 countries to North America each year. Headquartered at
Los Angeles International Airport with offices in the major gateway
cities across America, ATI is the third largest woman-owned business
in Los Angeles and generates an estimated $3 billion dollars
in revenues into the North America economy annually.
Recently appointed by the Department of Commerce to the U.S. Travel & Tourism
Promotion Advisory Board, Noel will serve as one of 15 industry
executives to advise Commerce Secretary Don Evans. This board will
make recommendations on how to most effectively increase the number
of international visitors to the U.S., including development of
a $50 million marketing campaign to encourage inbound tourism.
Noel spearheads strategic alliances with a multitude of international
and U.S. based organizations. ATI recently entered into a long-term
alliance with the AAA to be the Internet travel provider for their
46-million members. AAA is America’s largest retail travel
network with $4 billion in travel revenues. ATI recently became
the Internet provider travel provider for UNIVISION, the nations’ largest
Spanish speaking media organization serving more than 20 million
Noel has served on many boards including the California Chamber
of Commerce, the Travel Industry Association of America, Board
of Regents at Loyola Marymount University, and the Los Angeles
World Affairs Council.
In 1989, inspired by working with Mother Teresa, Noel established
a foundation to create and fund projects devoted to helping women
and families achieve financial independence. Since 1990, The Noel
Foundation together with the United Nations honors international
women leaders for their contributions for a better world and funds
numerous projects in America and globally.
In 1998, Success magazine featured Noel as one of their “Top
100 Entrepreneurs” ranking just above Oprah Winfrey and Martha
Stewart. She and Michael Fitzpatrick were awarded the California
Travel Industry Association’s “Entrepreneur of the
Year” Award, and Noel has been named several times as one
of Travel Agent Magazine’s “Most Powerful Women In
Travel”. Time magazine has recognized Noel as a “local
hero,” while Inc. magazine honored her as “Entrepreneur
of the Year.” The National Association of Women Business
Owners (NAWBO) recognized her as its “1996 Woman Business
Owner of the Year” and the California Mothers Association
names her their “1998 Humanitarian of the Year.” 2002
Recipient of the “National Caring Institute Award” in
Active in California and national politics, Noel co-chaired, will
Bill Marriott, the “Solidarity USA” initiatives and
works closely with The Bush Administration and Congress to improve
our nations’ economy. Noel is a regular guest on the television
program “Beyond the Beltway.”
A native of California, Noel is the eldest of 10 children. She
and her husband Gordon live in Los Angeles, with their seven
children. They own and operate Stonepine Estate Resort in Carmel