Disney picks Geoff Morrell to lead communications

The former BP executive will assume the role following CCO Zenia Mucha’s departure.

Geoff Morrell joins Disney as chief corporate affairs officer and senior EVP.
Geoff Morrell joins Disney as chief corporate affairs officer and senior EVP.

BURBANK, CA: The Walt Disney Company has hired Geoff Morrell for its newly created position of chief corporate affairs officer and senior EVP.  

Starting on January 24, Morrell will manage the corporate communications, global public policy, government relations, environmental, social and governance and corporate social responsibility teams. He’ll report directly to Disney CEO Bob Chapek. 

Jenny Cohen, an EVP who heads Disney's CSR, will report to both Morrell and Chapek. The media company plans to appoint a head of corporate communications, following Morrell’s arrival.

In July, Disney’s chief communications officer and EVP Zenia Mucha distributed an internal company memo announcing her decision to step down at the end of the year. The top comms executive has been at the company for two decades. Mucha has been on the PRWeek Power List several times, most recently in 2021.

Morrell was not immediately available for comment. A BP spokesperson said via email that his last day is set for December 21, and that his successor would be announced early next year.

In a memo distributed to staff on Tuesday, BP CEO Bernard Looney described Morrell as "a staunch defender of the company externally while internally always pushing us to get better."

He commended Morrell's efforts to repair the company's image after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, modernizing how the communications and advocacy team worked, helping to humanize the tone of BP's corporate voice.

Morrell comes from BP, where he has been EVP of communications and advocacy since July 2020. He has worked at the British multinational energy company for the last decade in various comms roles, starting as a VP of  U.S. communications in Washington, DC. He also has been selected for the PRWeek Power List multiple times in the U.S. , and in the U.K., including in 2021.

Formerly, from 2007 to 2011, Morrell was the Pentagon’s press secretary. Before that, he was the chief spokesperson for former Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the U.S. military under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Previously, Morrell was a TV correspondent for 15 years, including four covering the White House for ABC News.

In fiscal year 2021 Q4, which ended on October 2, Disney’s revenue increased 26%, reaching $18.5 billion, as its total segment operating income was up more than 100%, at $1.6 billion.

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