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Tags: disney | geoff morrell | ron desantis | schools | florida

Disney Communications Exec Morrell Out Amid DeSantis Feud

Geoff Morrell
Geoff Morrell in 2013, who was then serving as senior vice-president of U.S. Communications and External Affairs for BP. (Tom Williams/AP)

By    |   Monday, 02 May 2022 10:23 AM EDT

Disney and its senior communications relations executive, Geoff Morrell, who played a key role in the company's attack on Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' law banning instruction on gender change and sexuality for children in primary school, parted ways this weekend.

"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, who was hired for the position created in January, said in a note to his staff at Disney, reports The New York Times. "I have decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities."

Morrell, a communications professional who held a similar position at fuel giant BP and who had been press secretary during the Iraq war, is out immediately, with his last day at work being this past Friday.

The note to his staff came while Bob Chapek, Disney's chief executive, wrote in a company email that Morrell was leaving to "pursue other opportunities" and 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 announced that Kristina Schake will lead The Walt Disney Company's communications efforts as executive vice president of global communications, reporting directly to him.

Morrell had often spoken out about Disney's need to "modernize" its public communications, but most of his time since he was hired was spent dealing with a public relations quagmire starting in March when the company initially would not take a public stand on the school legislation.

Disney employees were angered over the company's silence on the bill before Chapek ended up speaking out against it. DeSantis, in response, and other GOP lawmakers last week pulled back the 1967 law allowing Disney to enjoy a special tax status and to self-govern Disney World.

Morrell's position combined several functions, including government relations, public policy, communications, and more aspects that had been split among several of the Disney departments.

Chapek, however, said in the email that he's opted to return to the company's former communications structure.

Morrell just hired Schake this past month, but she has held leadership roles at Instagram and for Democrat political campaigns. She has also served in the administrations of Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden, reports The Times.

"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," Chapek said about her. "These attributes will be invaluable as she works to protect and enhance our reputation."

Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Disney and its senior communications relations executive, Geoff Morrell, parted ways this weekend.
disney, geoff morrell, ron desantis, schools, florida
Monday, 02 May 2022 10:23 AM
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