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The Walt Disney Co. plans to name Geoff Morrell to the newly created role of chief corporate affairs officer, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. While he has been given a broader portfolio, his responsibilities will include succeeding top communications officer Zenia Mucha, who will retire from the company at the end of the year.
Morrell, currently executive vp communications advocacy for BP, will take on a restructured and significantly expanded position leading PR for Disney. His official title will be chief corporate affairs officer, overseeing communications, government relations, public policy, philanthropy and environmental issues.
Before joining the multinational oil and gas company, Morrell worked for both the Bush and Obama administrations as deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs at the Pentagon, where he eventually served as the chief spokesperson for Defense Secretary Bob Gates. (Morrell was one of a few Bush administration appointees who were asked to remain with the Obama administration, Gates wrote in his 2015 memoir, Duty.)
Before becoming a corporate executive, Morrell was a journalist, where he served as White House correspondent for Disney’s ABC News between 2004 and 2007 before leaving to join the Pentagon. He joined BP in 2011, and rose to lead its London-based external affairs team in 2017.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek is said to see him as having the ability to manage Disney’s many different stakeholders, from consumers to talent, policy makers and beyond.
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