Morrell will also hold the title of senior executive VP, replacing Zenia Mucha, who will be retiring from Disney at the end of the year.
The Walt Disney Company has appointed Geoff Morrell to the newly created position of Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, effective January 24.
In his new role, Morrell will oversee corporate communications, global public policy, government relations, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental, social and governance (ESG).
Morrell was most recently the executive vice-president of communications and advocacy at the global energy company BP and formerly Pentagon press secretary and a White House correspondent for ABC News.
Commenting on the appointment, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said: “In this unique time of industry disruption and social change, it is more important than ever that our consumers, communities, employees, and shareholders understand who we are and what we stand for. At the same time, the spheres of communications, corporate governance, social responsibility, government relations and public policy are increasingly interconnected and require a focused, coordinated approach. Geoff is a seasoned, insightful and accomplished public affairs officer, and I am delighted to appoint him to this new role, where he will build on Disney’s already strong reputation.”
Morrell added: “This is a homecoming of sorts. After four years in government and 10 years with bp, I am thrilled to be coming back to the company where I began my career. I started as a journalist, but return to take on an exciting new role. I look forward to helping Bob Chapek and his talented team engage with our stakeholders around the world. Given the tremendous change underway in the industry and Bob’s ambitious plans for Disney, it is imperative that we proactively share the story of Disney’s evolution. Few companies are as beloved as Disney, and I am committed to doing everything I can to make sure it remains that way.”
Under the new leadership structure, Disney’s head of corporate social responsibility will report to both Morrell and Chapek. A new head of corporate communications will be named following Morrell’s arrival. As previously announced last July, Zenia Mucha, Disney’s Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, and Alan Braverman, Senior Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, will be retiring from the Company shortly after year-end following nearly two decades in their respective roles.
Before entering public service, Morrell was a White House correspondent for ABC News from 2004 to 2007; he first joined the network in 2000. He began his reporting career in 1992 at KATV-TV in Little Rock, Ark., covering the presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. He later served as a reporter at WSET-TV in Lynchburg, Va. from 1994 to 1995, at KSAZ-TV in Phoenix from 1995 to 1996, and at WBBM-TV in Chicago from 1996 to 2000.
Morrell holds a Master’s Degree in journalism from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown University.