NEW YORK (AP) _ The head of Walt Disney Co.'s television animation unit is preparing to leave in what would be the latest in a recent series of top-level executive departures from the entertainment company, a published report said today.

The Wall Street Journal said Gary Krisel will leave as president of the highly profitable Walt Disney Television Animation unit when his contract expires early next year.

The unit is responsible for TV shows like ``Duck Tales,'' theatrical movies like ``The Goofy Movie'' and direct-to-video movies like ``The Return of Jafar.''

The Journal said Krisel couldn't be reached for comment on why he is leaving but said unidentified people close to him say he has become increasingly disenchanted with the company he joined in 1973.

The newspaper said Krisel had expected that Disney Chairman Michael Eisner would name him to head the company's television and telecommunications division but that job went to someone else.

That division had been headed by Richard Frank who left in March. Disney's presdident Frank Wells died last year and another top-level Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg subsequently quit.

The Journal said it was unclear what Krisel plans to do next. It said he is 45 and may be considering joining the studios at Time Warner Inc., Sony Corp. or the new entertainment company DreamWorks which Katzenberg founded with film producer-director Steven Spielberg and music mogul David Geffen.