Geoff Morrell Leaves Disney As Chief Corporate Affairs Officer

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Geoff Morrell is leaving the Walt Disney Company after less than four months as the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer. Many are speculating this is due to Disney’s fight with Florida Governor Ron Desantis. It is odd that the choices for replacements are more than one person and one is called a “Biden administration insider.”

According to Deadline Kristina Schake, the Biden insider will now be Executive Vice President, Global Communications in charge of Disney’s communication. Chapek states: “President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine education program, communications for Instagram, and leadership positions in political campaigns and the Obama White House.

While Disney’s General Counsel, Horacio Gutierrez is taking over the Government Relations and Global Public Policy. Meanwhile Executive Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, Jenny Cohen is now going to report to CEO Bob Chapek so he knows who Disney is donating to.

Three people to take over one person’s job. I guess they have to make sure they say and do the “right” things according to the side screaming the loudest at any given time.  But given the memo, it clearly leans one way currently. Most of these people are newer hires to the Walt Disney Company.

CEO Bob Chapek put out a memo to staff today about Morrell’s exit:

Team-

I am writing to share the news that Geoff Morrell, our Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities. Fortunately, 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. With Geoff’s departure, I am pleased to share the following changes:

First, Kristina Schake will lead The Walt Disney Company’s communications efforts, serving as our Executive Vice President, Global Communications reporting directly to me. In this expanded role, Kristina will have oversight for corporate and segment communications and continue to be our chief spokesperson. Our business segment and content communications leads will continue to dual report to both division leadership and corporate communications, now led by Kristina.

We are incredibly fortunate to have Kristina with us at this important time. Her 30-plus years of experience includes roles leading President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine education program, communications for Instagram, and leadership positions in political campaigns and the Obama White House. 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.

Next, Government Relations and Global Public Policy will now be led by our General Counsel, Horacio Gutierrez. Since joining the company earlier this year, Horacio has integrated seamlessly into the Disney family, and has quickly become a valued advisor to me and the leadership team on a wide range of issues. His extensive experience leading these areas will be incredibly useful in driving our efforts.

In addition to his current direct reports, 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, Jenny Cohen, Executive Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, will now report solely to me in her role leading our CSR and ESG efforts. Jenny is a strong leader, and has done incredible work modernizing our approach in key areas like environmental sustainability, community investment, and philanthropy.

I am incredibly confident in this team, and look forward to working with them and all of our leadership to set Disney’s course for the next 100 years of extraordinary entertainment and experiences.

So much for Bob Chapek keeping the Walt Disney Company politically neutral.

Morrell also sent out a message that said:

“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.”

Seems like he got fired already.

If Morrell wanted to keep the company moving in an apolitical way he isn’t a good fit because it seems Bob Chapek is folded on that the moment social media demanded it. The stock is now in free fall.

Not sure where this is going to leave the company, but the investor call is May 11th at 4:30PM EST. We will see how it goes.

What do you think? Comment and let us know!

Source: Deadline


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