Today, the Walt Disney Company announced the promotion of former human resources executive, Sonia Coleman, to Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer.
The promotion will be effective April 8, 2023, and she will report directly to Disney CEO Bob Iger.
Coleman’s most recent role was as Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Disney Entertainment and ESPN. She will take over from Paul Richardson, who will be departing the company after more than 15 years of service at Disney.
According to Disney, Coleman “will be responsible for leading Disney’s human resources strategy, global talent acquisition, leadership development, diversity and inclusion, organizational design and cultural development, employee education and development, compensation, and benefits, HR operations and technology, and global security.”
“Sonia is widely respected across the company as a gifted leader and strong advocate for our employees,” Iger said. “Her proven expertise leading the human resources function for our general entertainment businesses and ESPN during a period of unprecedented transformation makes her the perfect choice to lead this function company-wide as we implement our new operating structure and position Disney to capitalize on the opportunities ahead. I also want to extend my thanks to Paul Richardson for his many years of service to the company and his contributions to numerous ongoing initiatives, including our Heroes Work Here veterans hiring program.”
“It is truly an honor to be named to this role, and I am grateful for the confidence that Bob has placed in me,” Coleman said. “Disney is unrivaled because of the talent, dedication, and enthusiasm of our cast members and employees. They are the key to our success, and I look forward to being their greatest champion, in partnership with our exceptional HR teams around the world, as we move forward through the important company-wide transformation underway that will truly empower the people behind the magic of Disney.”
As Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Disney Entertainment and ESPN, Coleman has overseen a range of responsibilities including employee development and engagement, recruitment and compensation, organizational development, and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. This includes managing the HR portfolio for both ESPN and Disney Entertainment’s broader portfolio of businesses such as ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Owned Television Stations, Disney Branded Television, Disney Television Studios (including 20th Television, ABC Signature, 20th Television Animation, and Walt Disney Television Alternative), Freeform, FX, Hulu Originals, National Geographic Content, and Onyx Collective.
Prior to that, Coleman served as Senior Vice President, Human Resources for Disney General Entertainment from 2017. She also served as Vice President, Human Resources for the company from May 2016 and, in that capacity, oversaw HR strategy, change management initiatives, organizational development, and engagement strategies for Disney’s corporate, enterprise, and cross-functional employees, and served as the lead HR business partner to the company’s senior corporate executives. She was also responsible for employee relations for the company.
In 2008, Coleman became the Vice President of Human Resources for Disney Consumer Products, where she served for eight years. Before joining Disney, Coleman had accumulated human resource experience at several leading companies, including those on the Fortune 500 list.
We recently reported on other executive moves around the company, including the upcoming resignation of Daniel Delcourt, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Disneyland Paris. His responsibilities will be taken over by Christophe Murphy.
Last week, The Walt Disney Company also announced that effective Monday, March 20, 2023, Bruce Vaughn will be returning to Imagineering as Chief Creative Officer. He will work alongside Barbara Bouza, the current President of Walt Disney Imagineering.