Disney adds Spotify’s top lawyer as general counsel and secretary

Horacio Gutierrez to join the entertainment giant in February, succeeding longtime GC Alan Braverman

Incoming general counsel Horatio Gutierrez Image courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

Spotify’s top lawyer is set to join The Walt Disney Company as senior executive vice president, general counsel and secretary.

Horacio Gutierrez will begin his new role at the beginning of February and succeeds Alan Braverman, who is retiring after nearly two decades as general counsel. He joins at a time of wider leadership change for Disney, which saw executive chairman and former CEO Bob Iger leave at the end of last year after almost five decades at the company, and will report to his successor as CEO Bob Chapek. 

In the past year a number of executives from Iger’s era have also left or announced plans to leave, including studio chief creative officer Alan Horn and chief communications officer Zenia Mucha.

“Horacio is an incredibly skilled attorney and leader who comes to Disney with 35 years of legal experience in markets around the globe. Having spent more than two decades working for leading technology companies, he has deep understanding of the complex legal questions that come with technological disruption and rapid industry change,” Chapek said.

Gutierrez spent 17 years at Microsoft prior to Spotify, joining as a corporate attorney from Morgan Lewis & Bockius and working his way up in roles including associate general counsel, EMEA and deputy general counsel, IP and licensing group before becoming corporate vice president and general counsel in 2015. As the tech giant’s top lawyer he oversaw its legal affairs around the world, including support of the complete lifecycle of Microsoft’s products and services, M&A, litigation, legal compliance and cybercrime prevention.

He joined Spotify as general counsel and VP, business and legal affairs and three years later was promoted to head of legal affairs and chief legal officer, in which role he led a multi-disciplinary team responsible for areas including industry relations, content partnerships, public policy and trust and safety.

At Disney, Gutierrez will oversee the team of attorneys responsible for all aspects of the company’s legal affairs and act as a strategic advisor to executive leadership and the board of directors. His areas of accountability will include litigation, compliance, transactional law, securities law, regulatory matters, privacy protection, global ethics and patent, copyright and trademark issues.

“I am humbled to have the opportunity to lead Disney’s global legal organisation, to work with Bob Chapek and his leadership team and to contribute to one of the most admired companies in the world as it builds transforms for the future,” Gutierrez said. “It is a particular honour for me to succeed Alan Braverman, an iconic figure in the legal profession, who over the last two decades has built one of the largest and most admired legal departments in the world.”

Spotify did not respond to a request for comment as to who would replace Gutierrez as chief legal officer.

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