Disney’s former communications chief — partly responsible for bungling the company’s response to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Law — reeled in a gargantuan $8.4 million payday during his three-month stint, the New York Post reports.
Geoff Morrell, who joined Disney’s Hollywood, Calif., offices as chief corporate affairs officer in January 2022, earned $8,365,403 for a total of 70 workdays, a Disney filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday shows.
Add in his termination pay, and Morell bagged $119,505 a day.
On top of that, Disney paid roughly half a million dollars to relocate Morrell and his family from London to Los Angeles — and then another half a million for them to move away when he was fired following one of Disney’s biggest PR implosions in its storied 100-year history.
Disney also stepped in to purchase the $4.5 million home that Morrell had purchased.
However, a Disney spokesperson told the NYP the “realized value” of Morrell’s compensation will be “about $2 million less due to some performance-based payments not vesting.”
The public relations nightmare started when Disney employees protested what they said was the company’s opposition to the Florida sex education bill for children in kindergarten through third grade. The bill included instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity and set off a tinderbox with members of the LGBTQ community, including those working at Disney.
Morrell reportedly aggressively campaigned for Disney not to comment on the controversy.
The public relations disaster detonated to the point of becoming a political crucible, pitting Disney’s then-CEO Bob Chapek against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
On July 1, 2022, DeSantis signed the Florida Parental Rights in Education Bill into law and moved to strip Disney of its quasi-governmental control and tax breaks in the Reedy Creek Improvement District, where Walt Disney World is located.
Morrell came to Disney from BP, earlier in his career having served as a Pentagon official. Disney gave him a $2.8 million sign-on bonus and $5.1 million in stock options on top of his base salary of $489,500.
Morrell is now president of global strategy and communications at Teneo, a global consulting firm headquartered in New York.
Chapek stepped down as Disney CEO in November, replaced by Bob Iger, who returned to lead the company after retiring in 2020, following 15 years as Disney CEO.
Under Iger’s visionary leadership, Disney became a “media juggernaut,” as Forbes puts it.
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