Peter Rice & Geoff Morrell Fired, The Latest Disney Executives to Be Undermined or Blamed by Unpopular CEO Bob Chapek

According to The New York Times, Disney CEO Bob Chapek fired both Peter Rice and Geoff Morrell, whose breaks with the company were both officially framed as “departures.”

Geoff Morrell exited The Walt Disney Company in Aprilless than four months after taking over as chief communications officer. We learned earlier today that Disney General Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice is also leaving the company.

The New York Times spoke to three people familiar with the matter who said that Rice was an “ill fit with Disney’s corporate culture.” The Times also implied Chapek may have been concerned about Rice as he has been one of many suggested replacements for the CEO.

Rice had just renewed his contract last August and it ran until the end of 2024. According to the insiders, Disney will pay him out.

This is not the first time that Chapek has fired someone he seemingly felt threatened by. Infamously, Catherine Powell was fired after the debut of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland failed to meet expectations. Insiders reported that the blame was shifted intentionally from Chapek to Powell, who had been very successful in her role as President of the Disney Parks Western Region. Additionally, it has long been implied that Tom Staggs, who was the heir apparent to Bob Iger as CEO, was fired after being undermined by Chapek, who also viewed him as a threat.

Geoff Morrell, while not a CEO candidate, was fired after Chapek faced a series of bad press. The blame was shifted to Morrell after the “Don’t Say Gay” bill controversies, the resulting conflicts with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a petition for his firing, and a series of other blunders and rumblings from insiders led to rumors of his removal as CEO.

The board coming out in support of Chapek is in the best interest of Disney’s share price. Disney stock has been close to dipping below $100, which is considered a threshold where a lot of things would have to change in the organization. The timing of the firing announcement in tandem with the declaration of confidence seems to indicate the board is doing their job, which is to protect the stock price at all costs.

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  1. I’ve always been impressed with Staggs. Wondering if I’m wrong? I don’t know much about him beyond his involvement with the (re)creation of Disney Springs, the magic bands, my Disney Experience, and his famous re-working of New Fantasyland (mine train). While some of these moves may not be liked by everyone, As far as the parks go, He seems 1. Unafraid of innovation, 2. Committed to spending what it takes to get it “right,” 3. An understanding that high quality and guest satisfaction are what bring profits over the long haul.

    Maybe someone can set me straight if I’m being naïve, but he seems like a step up from what we are currently dealing with.

    Seems like Chapek is failing to recognize one of the essential characteristics of leadership in an organization like Disney: recognize your weaknesses and, rather than be threatened, find people who are better than you to make up for them.

  2. Get rid of Chapek. He is destroying Disney ( along with the radical board in California). Clean house all the way around. And stay OUT of politics !!!!!!

  3. If these executives didn’t agree with Chapek’s vision for the WDW company, that was a good thing. Keep them…get rid of the problem (Chapek and his minions)

  4. Chapek is the antithesis of Walt Disney, and Bob Iger for that matter. He’s ruined the park, dining and hotel experience. He’s price gouging us, while delivering less than ever. Chapek is all about charging us more for everything and giving us and the Cast Members less. The parks are rundown, filthy, Park restaurants are half empty due to Chapek laying off more CM’s (to maximize profit), they’ve cut menus, reduced portions, running on a skeleton crew resort wide (to maximize profit). Here’s to the revenge tourism ending because people can’t afford to go anymore. Then we’ll see Chapek’s profit margin and bonus dwindle. I look forward to the day. He’s a bad, bad guy and the last person who should be running Disney.

  5. Seems like the real cancer is Chapek and the Board, not these two guys who left. Disney will lose in the long run, as long as they stay in control and work their destruction across a once magical company. Pathetic.

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