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Disney’s Former Communications Chief, Geoff Morrell, Reels in Over $8M for 3 Month Stint

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Disney’s Former Communications Chief, Geoff Morrell, Reels in Over $8M for 3 Month Stint

Edited by: TJVNews.com

As the rumblings about Disney World and its management keep dominating the headlines as of late, Disney theme park goers might be exceptionally irritated to learn that the hefty amounts of money they are paying for admission, hotels, and other amenities is going to make one particular rich man even richer.

According to a recent report in the New York Post, Geoff Morell,  an ex-Pentagon official who came to Disney from BP, and was also known as a White House correspondent for ABC News in the mid to late 2000’s, was raking in the megabucks when he was selected to be Disney’s former communications chief in early 2021

Morrell, who was hired as chief corporate affairs officer last January, worked for a three-month period that spanned 70 weekdays during which he reeled in $8,365,403 in total compensation, or roughly $119,505 a day, according to Disney’s securities filing Tuesday. The Post reported.

Morrell’s short stint as Disney communications head was a turbulent one as it occurred during the high point of the political battle between Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis and the entertainment giant led by former CEO Bob Chapek over Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, as was reported by TVNewser.com.  Even now, under Chapek’s successor, Bob Iger, Disney is trying to undo the damage done by the skirmish, the Post reported.

TVNewser.com also reported that had Morrell completed a full year at Disney, based on the salary amounts revealed, he stood to earn more than $25 million. Clearly, this is a lot more than the $18 million that Robin Roberts reportedly earns, according to Celebrity Net Worth. She is the highest paid on-air personality at ABC News, Morrell’s former network.

When payouts associated with his termination agreement are calculated, that per-day figure that Morrell received increases to $176,746, as was reported by the Post.

TV Newer also reported that the amount paid to Morrell has brought on new criticism towards Disney, especially from investor Nelson Peltz, who has said that the executive compensation at the media giant is “over the top.”

Disney also shelled out roughly half a million dollars to move Morrell’s family to Los Angeles from London and then another half-million dollars for them to move away when he lost the job, the Post reported.  After he left the Mouse House, Disney bought the $4.5 million Southern California home that Morrell had purchased, Disney said.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Morrell was originally hired by Disney with a base salary of $489,500 and was given a $2.8 million bonus upon joining to replace compensation he was leaving behind at BP. Stock, options and other compensation totaled $5.1 million.

The New York Times reported in December 2021 that Morrell had helped the fossil fuel giant BP brighten its reputation after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster and he served as the Pentagon’s press secretary during the Iraq war.

Morrell succeeded Zenia B. Mucha, who announced her retirement as Disney’s chief communications officer in July 2021, the NYT reported. Among other duties,  Mucha  commanded Disney’s 500-person global media relations team for 19 years.

Speaking to the Post, a person at Disney with knowledge of the matter said that  “realized value” of Morrell’s fiscal 2022 compensation is expected to be “about $2 million less due to some performance-based payments not vesting.”

During his tenure, Morrell’s aggressive push to keep Disney from speaking out against the controversial Florida bill chafed Hollywood insiders, who quietly doubted that Morrell and his boss were the right fit for the liberal entertainment giant, the Post reported.

Notoriously tight-lipped Disney execs leaked to the press that Morrell killed the idea of joining corporations like Amazon and Apple by signing a letter from LGBTQ advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign opposing the bill, the Post reported. Anger bubbled over with Disney staffers speaking out against the embattled Chapek and leading a walkout. The Post also reported that Chapek quickly changed course, condemning the bill and apologizing to Disney workers.

The Post reported that Morrell stepped down shortly after, telling employees in a memo last April: “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.”


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