Jeff Morrell: Fired Disney exec had a short and very profitable tenure at the company


New York
CNN

Few top executives have failed at any job so quickly – or so profitably – as Jeff Morrell.

He became Disney’s chief corporate affairs officer on January 24, 2022, and the company promptly announced Morell’s departure in late April.

Morrell made about $150,000 a day for that quick stint in charge of Disney’s public relations and government affairs team. The Wall Street Journal first published details of his salary package last week.

Morrell received $8.3 million in salary and bonuses during his three months on the job and five months on the payroll, according to a Disney (DIS) filing last week. His last day was technically June 30, 2022.

This included $537,438 for moving his family out of London to take up the job, plus an additional $500,000 “to account for his unique circumstances” from having to move them again when he left.

A person at Disney told CNN that he was paid about $2 million less than the $8.3 million compensation reported on filing because some performance-based payments were never awarded, given his cut-rate job.

But in an added perk not included in his compensation figures, Disney also bought Muriel’s house, which he bought for $4.5 million — potentially softening the blow from the soft housing market. The house has not sold as of October, and Disney will make a profit or loss on whatever price it gets for the house. Because Disney paid him the original purchase price, it was not included as part of his compensation.

On top of that, Disney buys out the rest of Morel’s contract.

So he will get an additional $4 million in the current fiscal year ending October 1st to pay off the rest of his contract on top of the target bonus he would have received for 2022. That would be $4 million on top of the $8.3 million in reported compensation from last year.

So his total compensation — adjusted for both the $2 million unearned performance bonus and the $4 million post-mortem payout — comes out to $10.3 million.

From his hiring until he left in April, that’s about $148,000 a day if only weekdays are counted or $108,000 a day if he works seven days a week.

Morell did not respond to a request for comment on his Disney pay package, and Disney declined to comment beyond details in the filing.

Outside of the windfall, Morrell gets another job Since leaving Disney: Earlier this month, he was named Head of Global Strategy and Communications at Teneo, a global CEO advisory firm.

Prior to his brief stint at Disney, he worked with the public relations staff at BP for 11 years, the last 17 months of which he was Executive Vice President of Public Relations and Advocacy. Before that, he helped see BP through the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the resulting oil spill.

After coming to Disney, his new employer had its own PR disaster during Morrell’s short tenure: Disney faced intense criticism for its response to Florida’s so-called parental rights in education legislation, which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The law prohibits the teaching of gender identity and sexual orientation through the third grade and limits materials referring to those issues that can be made available to older children.

Disney, led by its new CEO Bob Chapek, first tried to keep quiet about the legislation, but it angered a large group of Disney employees. Then, when Šapek finally criticized it, it infuriated Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican-controlled Florida legislature who in turn moved to strip Disney of the rights it had enjoyed for decades to essentially act as an independent government around its theme park in the Orlando area. .

Muriel’s departure from Disney was announced within days of that dusting off.

Chapek held out longer but was fired by the Disney board in November, replaced by his predecessor Bob Iger in a surprise comeback.

Chapek has also been doing well financially, receiving a compensation package of nearly $20 million, according to the same regulatory filing from last week, on top of the $24 million he made last year — his $2.5 million base salary plus millions in stock options and awards. That’s down from the $32.5 million he made in 2021.

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