Recently, The Walt Disney Company surprised both fans and employees by dismissing longtime executive Peter Rice. Rice had been with the 20th Century Fox company since 2000 — he began with the Fox Searchlight Pictures division.
Rice officially joined Disney in 2019 when the House of Mouse acquired 20th Century Fox, renaming it 20th Century Studios. He was serving as Chairman of Disney General Entertainment when he was let go, a post that is now held by Dana Walden.
Amid Rice’s firing, Deadline reports that “shockwaves” have been sent through The Walt Disney Company’s general entertainment division.
The outlet also noted that Rice’s departure has been “affecting morale as employees have been trying to make sense of Rice’s unceremonious firing that came without warning amid a strong performance for DGA.”
Although no Disney employees have publicly commented on Rice leaving at this time, it seems that the executive shakeup is having a negative impact on day-to-day morale in the office.
In an article ominously entitled, “Disney CEO Bob Chapek Supported Peter Rice. Until He Didn’t”, the Wall Street Journal shared that Rice’s dismissal “came less than a year after Mr. Chapek had endorsed Mr. Rice’s leadership with a large bonus and a new multiyear deal that ran through 2024.”
This prior confidence in Rice’s abilities is undoubtedly adding to the confusion employee are experiencing as Walden attempts to rally the troops.
Deadline shared Walden’s first internal memo to her new department, which read in part:
I promise you that I will do everything I can to support you and make sure that DGE is the best place in the business to work. A place that thrives on creativity and creative risk-taking; a place where people can bring their authentic, true selves to work every day; a place where inclusion is top priority and collaboration is celebrated; and a place where we will never stop working to be the very best home for talent.
Previously, Walden served as Chairman of Entertainment, Walt Disney Television — a role in which she promised to ensure that “at least 50%” of new characters were racial minorities or part of the LGBTQIA+ community. At this time, it has not been announced who will take over Walden’s old post.
What do you think about Disney’s executive shakeup?