Disney is set to poach Luke Bradley-Jones, the chief marketing officer of Sky in the UK & Ireland, for a senior role.
Sky confirmed Bradley-Jones is leaving the Comcast-owned pay-TV firm and multiple sources said he is heading to Disney.
Disney declined any comment and his new, expected role was not clear.
Bradley-Jones has spent more than seven years at Sky during a period when the pay-TV giant overtook the Government and Procter & Gamble to become Britain’s biggest advertiser, although some estimates suggest its annual UK media spend has dropped from a peak of around £300m in the past year.
He was instrumental in some of the brand’s key marketing decisions, including the appointment of Mother to manage the Sky "master brand" and the sponsorship of Chris Evans’ "ad-break-free" Virgin Radio show.
Bradley-Jones was previously Sky’s brand director of TV and content products when he worked on the overhaul of the electronic programme guide.
He also worked for the BBC for six years in London and New York, holding commercial roles including managing director of bbc.com.
Sky declined to comment on Bradley-Jones’ departure or how it plans to fill his role. Debbie Klein joined from Engine last year in a pan-European role as group chief marketing, corporate affairs and people officer.
Bradley-Jones is the second senior Sky executive to depart in a matter of weeks, after Andrew Griffith, the chief operating officer and chief financial officer, quit to become UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s top business adviser in Downing Street.
Many Sky executives enjoyed a financial windfall last year when their share awards vested after the Comcast takeover.
Bradley-Jones’ expected job move comes at a pivotal time for Comcast and Disney after they clashed in two epic M&A battles last year.
Disney beat Comcast to buy 21st Century Fox’s TV and film assets while Comcast, the owner of NBCUniversal, triumphed in the takeover battle for Sky.
Both of the US entertainment giants own TV, film and theme park assets and they are competing in the streaming wars.
Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, is set to launch later this year and NBCUniversal is expected to launch a US rival next year – with technology support from Sky’s existing NOW TV operation.
Disney has had a strong start to 2019, smashing cinema box office records with close to $8bn in takings so far this year, thanks to hits including Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King and Toy Story 4.