The Walt Disney Co. Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Greg Morrell announced he is parting ways with the conglomerate on April 29.
“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,” Morrell told employees in an email. “After talking this over with Bob [Chapek], I have decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.”
Morrell’s memo concluded, “I wish him, each of you and everyone at Disney the very best.”
The former BP executive was brought in in early 2022 to oversee Disney’s communications with government relations and public policy efforts. Morrell’s brief tenure saw the “Don’t Say Gay” scandal and subsequent Disney backlash, as well as Florida governor Ron DeSantis stripping Walt Disney World of its special district and tax breaks.
In a memo to staffers, Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced that Kristina Schake will take over Morrell’s position, serving as the Executive Vice President of Global Communications and reporting directly to Chapek. Government Relations and Global Public Policy will also now be led by General Counsel, Horacio Gutierrez.
Read Chapek’s full memo below:
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.