Disney in-houser joins Sparrowhawk as first general counsel

Sparrowhawk Media, the private equity backed business launched by former Channel Five chief executive David Elstein, has raided Walt Disney for its first ever general counsel.

Keith Porritt, head of business and legal affairs of Walt Disney’s television distribution division BVITV, is leaving the company after 10 years to join Sparrowhawk later this year.

Porritt landed the position thanks to his personal relationship with Elstein and David Hulbert, the former president of Walt Disney Television International, who is now also at Sparrowhawk.

In his new role, Porritt will be responsible for building Sparrowhawk’s in-house legal function. He will also review the whether there is a business case for the company to develop links with external legal advisers.

Porritt said: “I’ve worked here for 10 years and have decided to leave as I have a great opportunity to work for a new entity.”

Sparrowhawk, which is owned by 3i and Providence Equity Partners, was launched to buy the Hallmark Channel from Crown Media Holdings.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated move, the head of the legal and business affairs for the Euro Disney channels Peter Wiley has been promoted to the role of Walt Disney’s European general counsel.

Wiley will be replacing Rosemary Bloom, who quit late last year for a career break and to return to France.