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A Disney executive who left after 3 months amid its ‘Don’t Say Gay’ missteps made almost $120,000 a day

Members of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation urge Disney to speak out against the "Don't Say Gay" bill.Members of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation urge Disney to speak out against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Dan Steinberg/AP

  • Disney chief corporate affairs officer Geoff Morrell worked at the company for around three months.
  • During his stint there last year, he got $8.37 million in total compensation, filings show.
  • Disney faced intense criticism over its slow response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

A Disney exec who left the company after just over three months was given $8.37 million in total compensation, or nearly $120,000 per day, for the 70 weekdays he spent at the company.

Geoff Morrell, who had served as the company’s chief corporate affairs officer, joined Disney on January 24, 2022 and left in late April.

During his time at the company, Morrell got a $489,500 salary, Disney’s proxy statement released on Tuesday shows. He also received a $2.75 million cash sign-on bonus, $2.9 million in stock awards, and $1.2 million in option awards.

Morrell got a further $1 million in other compensation, including $527,500 in relocation costs as he moved his family from the UK to the US for the role and $500,000 paid in June “to account for his unique circumstances.”

The Wall Street Journal first reported on Morrell’s compensation.

Disney botched its response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law

Morrell’s role at the company, under the leadership of CEO Bob Chapek, who has since been ousted, focused on heading up Disney’s government affairs and corporate communications. Morrell, an outsider to Disney, had previously worked at BP, the Pentagon, and ABC News.

But during Morrell’s tenure the company faced intense criticism over its response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. Disney was slow to respond to the bill despite mounting pressure to denounce it, angering the public and its staff alike, though Chapek ultimately spoke out against it in early March.

This fueled a battle between Disney and Gov. Ron DeSantis, leading to Florida’s legislature voting to strip Disney of the special tax status it had benefitted from since 1967. DeSantis signed the bill repealing the status on April 22.

A week later, Morrell said that he was “resigning from the company to pursue other opportunities.” His role at Disney was “not the right fit for me and not the right move for my family,” he said at the time.

However, in a copy of Morrell’s general release from the company, Disney said that it had exercised its termination right in late April. It said in Tuesday’s filing that the company had “made the unilateral decision” to release him from the company, and he signed his general release in late June.

On top of his compensation in 2022, Morrell is eligible for millions more in severance from the company.

Disney said in Tuesday’s filing that Morrell was entitled to $2.5 million in remaining base salary through the end of his employment agreement term, December 2024, and a $1.5 million payment equivalent to a target bonus for fiscal 2022, as long as he completes the terms of his post-employment consulting agreement and general release.

Disney said that Morrell was also entitled to a buyout for the home he purchased in Pasadena, Southern California after taking on the job with a $1.36 million down payment. The home had been purchased by a third-party vendor on the company’s behalf in June at its original sale price and will be sold by Disney.

The company said in the filing that it would realize any gains or losses on the sale of the property and that “in no situation will Mr. Morrell monetarily benefit from the sale of the property.”

Disney has previously said that it would pay to ship Morrell’s household goods to Washington, D.C., where he was born and raised and where he has relocated to work for advisory firm Teneo.

Disney and Morrell did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider, sent outside normal US working hours.

Read the original article on Business Insider