Disney has found its new PR chief in BP executive Geoff Morrell.
Morrell is taking over for the outgoing Zenia Mucha, who is stepping down at the end of this year after a 20-year tenure. Mucha was a longtime ally of former Disney CEO Bob Iger, who is himself stepping away officially at the end of this year after two years as executive chairman, when his contract is up.
Morrell is currently the executive vice president of communications advocacy for oil giant BP. Morrell’s official title will be as chief corporate affairs officer, where he’ll oversee communications, government relations, public policy, philanthropy and environmental issues. Government relations was previously under Disney’s chief counsel’s office, Alan Braverman. Like Mucha and Iger, Braverman is also leaving Disney at the end of this year as current CEO Bob Chapek further puts his stamp on the company.
Last week, Susan Arnold was named as Iger’s replacement as the chair of the board of directors.
Mucha’s role included oversight of all global communications and duties as the company’s chief spokesperson and oversight of communication strategy and media relations for the company, its various business segments and its philanthropic and environmental initiatives. Her role also included oversight of internal communications, the Walt Disney Archives and D23.
Morrell will take over an expanded restructured and expanded communications team.
Before working at BP, Morrell worked at the Pentagon, where he was deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. He was at the Pentagon during both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. He would eventually be chief spokesperson for Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Prior to moving to public relations, Morrell was a White House correspondent for ABC News.
During her tenure, Mucha was known for her fierce reputation of playing hardball with journalists over stories that didn’t portray Disney’s family-friendly brand in a positive light.