One of the most popular stories on The Wall Street Journal website last week carried an irresistible headline: “The Disney Executive Who Made $119,505 a Day.”
Reporter Erich Schwartzal mined Disney Co.’s latest proxy statement for the report, which comes amid sharp criticism by activist investor Nelson Peltz of the entertainment giant’s executive compensation practices.
The executive in question is Disney’s former chief corporate affairs officer, who lasted only four months at the company last year and “left following a public relations implosion” that pitted Disney and since-ousted CEO Bob Chapek against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
According to the WSJ report, the corporate affairs officer made $8.4 million in total compensation during his mere 70 workdays at Disney. The company also paid him about $500,000 to move his family to Los Angeles from London and another $500,000 to move away when he lost the job. Disney also bought the executive’s $4.5 million southern California former home.
Who is this well-paid exec? His name might be familiar to veteran Arkansas TV news watchers: Geoff Morrell, who began his career in 1992 as a reporter for Little Rock ABC affiliate KATV-TV, Channel 7. Morrell, who covered Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, later became a White House correspondent for ABC News before joining the U.S. Department of Defense as Pentagon press secretary.
He later joined BP, where he rose through the energy giant’s communications arm before joining Disney. He’s since joined consulting firm Teneo Holdings LLC.
As they say at Disney, it’s a small world after all.