Disney general affairs director Morrell leaves the company

A screen displays the logo and a ticker symbol for The Walt Disney Company on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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LOS ANGELES, April 29 (Reuters) – Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) head of general affairs Geoff Morrell is leaving the company three months after joining oil and energy company BP Plc (BP.L), according to an email Friday from general manager Bob Chapek.

Morrell’s brief tenure was marked by controversy over the company’s response to Florida law banning classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity for some young students. Read more

“It has become clear to me that for a number of reasons this is not the right solution,” Morrell wrote in a separate email to his staff. “I have decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.”

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Both emails were seen by Reuters.

Kristina Schake will lead the company’s communications efforts, Chapek said in the email. Her more than 30 years of experience include leading President Joe Biden’s vaccine education program, as well as communications for Instagram and working in the Obama administration.

Government Relations and Global Public Policy will be led by Disney General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez.

Disney has become the center of criticism for initially failing to speak out publicly against Florida’s legislation, which critics are calling the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The company said it was working behind the scenes to influence legislation, an approach Chapek admitted to failing. He then expressed his disappointment with the measure and apologized to the company’s LGBTQ employees for not being a “stronger ally in the fight for equal rights”.

When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law the Parental Rights in Education Bill on March 28, Disney issued a statement saying it “should never have passed” and said that it should be repealed.

Disney’s public condemnation has opened a new front in the country’s culture wars, with DeSantis signing a bill April 22 that would strip the company of its self-governing authority at its Orlando-area parks in apparent retaliation. Read more

The company has yet to issue a statement on the new law, which would come into effect on June 1, 2023.

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Reporting by Dawn Chmielewski and Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles Editing by Chris Reese and Matthew Lewis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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