A preliminary affidavit filed Tuesday by The Walt Disney Company revealed the huge amount of money former corporate affairs chief Jeff Morrell made in connection with his time at the entertainment giant.
Morel’s tenure as chief corporate affairs officer lasted less than four months. He started the job in January 2022, about a month and a half after Disney announced it had hired him and announced his departure at the end of April.
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He told his Disney staff at the time that it “became clear” to him that “for a number of reasons” the role “wasn’t a good fit” and that he had “decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities” after speaking with then-CEO Bob Chapek , according to an email obtained by FOX Business.
A preliminary proxy statement filed by Disney with the Securities and Exchange Commission detailed Morrell’s pay package of more than $8.365 million for fiscal year 2022, including a salary of $489,500, a sign-on bonus of $2.75 million, stock awards, awards for options and other compensation. The sign-on bonus, Disney said, was “primarily to replace lost compensation from his previous employer,” oil giant BP.
He received $500,000 to “cover expenses Mr. Morrell incurred in connection with his family’s international relocation” to join Disney, according to the filing. The company also gave him $500,000 in June 2022 to “take into account his unique circumstances, including expenses incurred by Mr. Morrell, who was in the process of moving his family overseas.”
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His compensation was approximately $119,500 for each of the 70 work days he worked at Disney. The Wall Street Journal previously reported on his compensation.
A Disney person told the Wall Street Journal that Morrell’s “realized value” of compensation for fiscal 2022, because of some performance-based payments, is expected to be about $2 million lower.
The SEC filing said Morrell will be entitled to more than $2.5 million in remaining salary until the end of his original employment agreement, a $1.5 million equivalent target bonus and the buyout of a home he purchased in California if he “successfully fulfill all the terms of his post-employment consulting contract and general release”.
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An “independent seller” purchased the home on Disney’s behalf in the summer of 2022 at the original purchase price, according to a preliminary proxy statement. As of last October, the property has not been sold, but Disney will “realize any gains or losses” related to it when it does, not Morella, it said.
The proxy’s preliminary statement also provided insight into the compensation of other Disney executives in fiscal 2022, such as Capek and CEO Bob Iger.
Iger returned to Disney to become CEO for two years in November, having previously held that title from 2005 to 2020 and served as executive chairman until 2021. Capek had been at the helm of the company since February 2020, shortly before he The pandemic has caused shutdowns around the world.
The Capek-led company has faced a period of political turmoil in early 2022, including over a Florida state law preventing the teaching of sexual orientation in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.
Disney’s preliminary filing Tuesday comes amid a battle between activist investor Nelson Peltz and the Trian Group. Peltz is seeking a seat on the company’s board of directors.
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Shares of the entertainment giant were trading at around $99 on Wednesday, up around 11% since the start of 2023 and down around 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.