A long-time distribution executive who, in 1996, was given creative duties as well as named chair of the motion picture group at Walt Disney Studios, Richard Cook made a name for himself not just by running the Buena Vista distribution arm and seeing it top $1 billion in revenues from 1994, but also in planning and executing some of the most imaginative "event" promotions Hollywood has seen since the heyday of the 1930s and 40s. Cook, who reports directly to studio chair Joe Roth, began his career with the Disney Family as a ride operator at Disneyland in 1970. Staying with the company, he became a sales rep in 1971, and by 1974 was manager of sales for the theme park. Cook moved to the Disney studio operation in Burbank in 1977 as manager in the pay TV and non- theatrical division, where he is credited with much of the early planning for what would become The Disney Channel on pay TV. In 1980, Cook moved to Buena Vista Pictures Distribution--the releasing arm of the company--as assistant domestic sales manager, moving up the ladder until he became president of distribution in 1988. In 1994, Cook was given the added responsibility of marketing. Two years later, as chair of the motion picture group, he became responsible for all domestic and international marketing and feature film acquisition. The move came as Cook was being courted by the upstart DreamWorks SKG, and promoted him to number two (after Roth) in Disney's motion picture executive hierarchy.