There have been a number of changes made within the last several months and years when it comes to leadership within the Walt Disney Company.
Bob Iger has officially left the company after most recently working as Executive Chairman, some Imagineers have left, and Disney even hired a new spokesperson with political experience. But now things are changing again.
According to Deadline, after less than 4 months on the job, Geoff Morrell will be leaving his position as Chief Corporate Affairs Officer. Disney CEO Bob Chapek sent a memorandum out today regarding this change.
In the memo, Chapek noted that Morrell would be leaving to “pursue other opportunities.” In an email sent from Morrell, Morrell himself shared, “After three months in this new role, it has become clear to me that for a number of reasons it is not the right fit.”
Earlier this year, Morrell tweeted (and swiftly deleted) the opening date for the Guardians of the Galaxy ride coming to EPCOT prior to its official announcement, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
According to Deadline, Chapek’s memo noted that “the strength and experience of our existing leadership team—including relatively new all-star hires—means there is no shortage of talent to guide our reputation-driving functions.”
He then went on to note who will be taking over Morrell’s role. First we have Kristina Schake. Schake has experience in the Obama and Biden administrations, and was recently hired by Disney to serve as Executive Vice President, Global Communications and lead spokesperson.
Schake’s title won’t change, but she will report directly to Chapek and will have an expanded role, taking over part of Morrell’s role. In this expanded role, Chapek noted that she’ll “have oversight for corporate and segment communications and continue to be our chief spokesperson.” She’ll essentially handle Disney’s communications efforts.
According to Chapek, “Kristina has a strategic approach and collaborative style, as well as relentless optimism and a strong appreciation of our brand and its place in the world. These attributes will be invaluable as she works to protect and enhance our reputation, and I am thrilled to be working with her more closely.”
Then we have Horacio Gutierrez. Gutierrez currently serves as General Counsel. He will now also handle Government Relations and Global Public Policy.
Chapek also noted that more individuals will report directly to Horacio. Specifically, “Susan Fox, Senior Vice President for Government Relations, and Yvonne Pei, Senior Vice President, External Relations, Greater China, will join Dorothy Attwood, Senior Vice President, Global Public Policy, in reporting directly to Horacio.”
Finally, there’s Jenny Cohen. Cohen is Executive Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility. Because of Morrell’s departure, she will report solely to Chapek in her role “leading our CSR and ESG efforts.”
Chapek noted that Cohen has done “incredible work modernizing our approach in key areas like environmental sustainability, community investment, and philanthropy.”
These changes come following weeks where Disney’s name has often made headlines in relation to the handling of the situation surrounding the Parental Rights in Education Bill (what critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill) in Florida, the dissolution of Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District by the Florida legislature, and more.
Deadline says that “the hope at the highest level is that Morrell’s removal and the new reorganization will allow the media giant to come out from underneath the falling debris of the current situation.”
We’ll continue to look for more updates and share those with you. Be sure to check back with us for all the latest Disney news.