The Walt Disney Company announced a big management change today. Peter Rice, chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content, has been fired and Dana Walden is taking over the role. Following the change, Disney’s board issued a statement in support of CEO Bob Chapek.
The New York Times reports that Rice was “widely admired” around the industry and was viewed by outsiders as a potential successor for Chapek. Rice’s firing comes just a couple months after Disney fired Geoff Morrell, the company’s chief communications executive.
The New York Times also obtained a statement from Disney’s board on Chapek following the Rice news.
“The strength of the Walt Disney Company’s businesses coming out of the pandemic is a testament to Bob’s leadership and vision for the company’s future. In this important time of business growth and transformation, we are committed to keeping Disney on the successful path it is on today, and Bob and his leadership team have the support and confidence of the Board.”
This matches previous comments from the board praising Chapek for handling the company during the pandemic.
Whatever is going on behind the scenes at Disney is fascinating. The continued executive management changes and the idea that Chapek is removing potential successors should make for a great book or documentary in the future.