A preliminary proxy statement filed Tuesday by The Walt Disney Company revealed the enormous amount of money former Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Geoff Morrell earned in connection to his time at the entertainment giant.
Morrell’s tenure in the chief corporate affairs officer role spanned 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 his exit in late April.
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He told his staff at Disney at the time it had “become clear” to him that “for a number of reasons” the role was “not the right fit” and he had “decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities” after talking with then-CEO Bob Chapek, according to an email obtained by FOX Business.
The preliminary proxy statement Disney filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission outlined the details of Morrell’s over $8.365 million pay package for fiscal year 2022, including a $489,500 salary, a $2.75 million sign-on bonus, stock awards, option awards and other compensation. The sign-on bonus, Disney said, was “primarily to replace foregone compensation from his previous employer,” oil giant BP.
He received $500,000 to “accommodate the cost expended by Mr. Morrell with regards to the international relocation of his family” for joining Disney, according to the filing. The company also gave him $500,000 in June 2022 to “account for his unique circumstances, including costs expended by Mr. Morrell, who was in the process of relocating his family internationally.”
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His compensation equated to roughly $119,500 for each of the 70 weekdays he worked at Disney. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported on his compensation.
A person at Disney told the Wall Street Journal that because some performance-based payments did not vest, Morrell’s fiscal 2022 compensation’s “realized value” is expected to come in roughly $2 million lower.
The SEC filing said Morrell would be entitled to over $2.5 million in remaining salary through the end of his original employment agreement term, $1.5 million equivalent to a target bonus and a buyout of the house he bought in California if he “successfully completes all the terms of his post-employment consulting agreement and general release.”
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A “third-party vendor” bought that home on Disney’s behalf in the summer of 2022 for its original purchase price, according to the preliminary proxy statement. As of October of last year, the property had not been sold, but Disney will “realize any gains or losses” associated when it does, not Morrell, it said.
The preliminary proxy statement also provided insight into the compensation of other Disney executives in fiscal 2022, like Chapek and CEO Bob Iger.
Iger returned to Disney to become CEO for two years in November, having previously held the title from 2005 to 2020 and served as executive chairman through 2021. Chapek had helmed the company since February 2020, not long before the pandemic prompted lockdowns around the globe.
The Chapek-led company faced a period of political turmoil in early 2022, including in connection to a Florida state law that prevents the teaching of sexual orientation in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.
Disney’s preliminary filing 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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The entertainment giant’s stock was trading at about $99 on Wednesday, up about 11% from the beginning of 2023 and down roughly 34% over the past year.
Disney did not respond to an inquiry from FOX Business by the time of publication. Morrell declined to comment.
Adam Sabes contributed to this report.