An initial attorney statement filed by The Walt Disney Company on Tuesday revealed the huge amount of money former Corporate Communications Director Geoff Morrell earned during his tenure at the entertainment giant.
Morrell’s tenure as chief corporate officer lasted less than four months. He started the job in January 2022, about a month and a half after Disney said it had hired him, and announced he would be leaving at the end of April.
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He told his staff at Disney that it was “clear” to him that the role “wasn’t the right fit” for “a number of reasons” and that after speaking he had “decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities”. with then-CEO Bob Chapek, according to an email obtained by FOX Business.
Disney’s initial proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission details Morrell’s pay package of more than $8.365 million for fiscal 2022, including $489,500 in salary, a $2.75 million sign-on bonus, stock awards, option awards and other compensation. The sign-on bonus, Disney said, “is originally intended to replace unpaid compensation from a previous employer, oil giant BP.”
According to the filing, he received $500,000 to “reimburse Mr. Morrell’s family’s international relocation expenses” to join Disney. The company also awarded him $500,000 in June 2022 to “take into account Mr. Morrell’s unique circumstances, including expenses incurred as he is in the process of moving his family internationally.”
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His compensation was roughly $119,500 for each of the 70 days he worked at Disney. The Wall Street Journal previously reported on his compensation.
A person at Disney told the Wall Street Journal that the “real value” of Morrell’s compensation for fiscal 2022 is expected to fall by about $2 million because some performance-based payments are not guaranteed.
The SEC filing said that Morrell “will be eligible to receive a $2.5 million remaining salary, a target bonus equivalent to $1.5 million, and the purchase of a home he purchased in California through the end of his initial employment contract if he successfully completes all of the terms of his employment.” upon completion of the consulting contract and general release.”
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A “third-party seller” purchased the home on Disney’s behalf in the summer of 2022 for the original purchase price. As of last October, the property had not been sold, but Disney, not Morrell, “will realize any gain or loss” related to it, he said.
The initial proxy statement also disclosed the compensation of other Disney executives in fiscal 2022, such as Chapek and CEO Bob Iger.
Iger, who previously held the title from 2005 to 2020 and served as executive chairman until 2021, returned to Disney in November for a two-year term as CEO. Čapek had been at the helm of the company since February 2020, long before the pandemic led to lockdowns around the world.
Chapek’s company has faced a period of political turmoil since early 2022, including over a Florida state law barring the teaching of sexual orientation in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.
Disney’s initial filing on Tuesday comes amid a proxy battle with activist investor Nelson Peltz and the Trian Group. Peltz is seeking a seat on the company’s board.
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Shares of the entertainment giant were trading at $99 on Wednesday, up about 11% since the start of 2023, after falling about 34% last year.
Disney did not respond to a request from FOX Business by the time of publication. Morrell declined to comment.
Adam Sabes contributed to this report.