The Business Case for Culture: Why Pixar and Disney's Merger Almost Failed [w/ Adam Kingl former Disney/Pixar Business Consultant]

Bippity Boppity Business: A podcast for Disney Enthusiasts and Business Professionals.

Sep 7 2022 • 1 hr 3 mins

When Disney acquired Pixar in 2006, it was a big moment for the company.

In the book “Ride of A Lifetime,” former CEO Bob Iger recounts that many felt it was too risky, controversial, and almost impossible to successfully execute.Disney and Pixar were two very different companies, with clashing animation and culture ideals.

Directed under Steve Jobs, Pixar’s creative team were the rebels of animation, innovating and producing work that was far beyond the time and what technology was capable of achieving. They had free range to create, with little to no “corporate red tape”. Pixar’s creative team was creating movie blockbuster hits like “Toy Story” that no one had ever seen before.

Meanwhile, Disney was struggling to rank in the box office- the golden era of the 90’s movies was beginning to fade. At the same time, they had stakeholder expectations, intellectual property, and Walt’s legacy, for their creative team to maintain and consider. Innovation was welcomed, but the prospect of producing 3D animation, instead of hand drawn 2D, was not widely accepted.

There was a lot of worry, from the Pixar team, that they would lose their creative edge, that they would become a corporate machine, that churned out product without any care or feeling.

But Iger knew, in order to continue growing as a business, Disney had to merge with Pixar. Iger was aware of the potential cultural clash that would occur when their two very different organizations would come together. His team couldn’t only be the ones executing this culture change management.

Disney was not only acquiring Pixar's team and outputs, they were also acquiring the values and culture of Pixar. They needed a specialist, a neutral third party, to help bring these two very different worlds of business together.

Adam Kingl was brought on board as a business consultant and leadership expert to help with the transition and merger. By hiring someone like Kingl, who could help them navigate these waters, Pixar was able to maintain their creative spirit and continue to inspire others.

In this episode Rita Richa and Adam Kingl discuss:

- Ways business leaders can effectively navigate cultural change and people during a merger

- How culture directly correlates to business profitability and business success

- Strategies Adam implemented to insure Pixar and Disney’s cultural transition was a success

- The difference between scientific management and creative leadership

- Future of work and capitalism, how Disney is innovating in this space

- The magic ways to fulfill organizational and personal purpose.

Be sure to stick around for the Disney Rapid Fire Questions segment! You definitely won’t want to miss Adam's creative answers!

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Connect with Adam Kingl @:

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Check out Adam’s Book, “Next Generation Leadership: How To Ensure Young Talent Will Thrive With Your Organization” here:

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This episode of Bippity Boppity Business was produced by Reignite Media.