Morale is at an all-time low on the beleaguered Mouse Home after Disney CEO Bob Chapek dumped TV content material boss Peter Rice.
Rice, who joined Disney after the media large acquired twenty first Century Fox in 2019, was changed on Thursday by his quantity two, Dana Walden, in what many have described as a “stunning” shakeup.
“It’s not good for the corporate. Morale is horrible,” a Disney insider informed The Hollywood Reporter.
No cause was given by Disney as to why Rice was let go, however sources buzzed Thursday that Chapek sharpened the axe earlier than it fell on him after he butted heads with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“Throughout all of the press in regards to the DeSantis fiasco, it’s extremely uncomfortable, for a CEO whose energy is slipping away, to have the one that is seen as your successor sitting within the room with you,” the supply informed The Hollywood Reporter. “You kill that particular person.”
Chapek has had a slew of missteps since he took the helm in 2020, together with grappling with the fallout from his fumbling response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Homosexual” legislation.
Rice — a former exec at Fox — was seen by some at Disney as a possible CEO successor to Bob Chapek.Bloomberg by way of Getty Photographs
As his boss flip-flopped on his response to DeSantis’ laws, enraging Disney workers, Rice issued his personal memo on the time, saying, “Personally, I see this legislation as a violation of basic human rights.”
That possible didn’t win any factors with Chapek, or different execs, who seen Rice as somebody who didn’t conform to Disney’s extra buttoned-up company tradition.
Rice broke the information of his firing to workers Thursday in a collegial memo, capping a tumultuous journey on the firm.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek fired govt, Peter Rice.Chris Jackson
“I’m so pleased with the work we’ve got achieved collectively, the friendships we’ve got solid and the constant success we’ve got celebrated,” he wrote. “As I depart Disney, could I go away you with a final thought: stay dedicated to excellence and all the time acknowledge that our tales are dependent upon the creativeness and artistry of the writers, administrators, producers, actors, and craftsman that we’ve got engaged to name Disney house.”
Rice, who had greater than three a long time of expertise within the leisure trade, soared at Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Leisure, the place he grew the profile of Fox Searchlight, green-lighting a few of its highest grossing, critically-acclaimed movies like “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Little Miss Sunshine.”
His success on the division led him to a promotion overseeing the media large’s TV belongings. The star exec was introduced over to Disney three years in the past, the place he oversaw the division that remodeled 300 exhibits a yr for platforms like ABC, Disney Channel, Disney+, Hulu and FX.
Rice’s quantity two, Dana Walden, was elevated by Chapek to exchange her former boss.WireImage
“He’s not a foul man, simply grew up within the flawed company tradition,” a supply informed The Submit Thursday, citing cumulative points over time for the rift.
However the dangerous press for a corporation that had run relatively easily beneath Chapek’s predecessor, Bob Iger, induced some in Hollywood to take a position if Chapek was as much as the job.
“Chapek’s contract is up in a yr and a half,” a Hollywood govt informed The Submit in April. “I’d be fearful.”
Since taking the Disney reigns in 2020, Chapek has had a slew of missteps.LightRocket by way of Getty Photographs
In keeping with stories, Disney has but to re-sign Chapek, however Rice’s dismissal did include a vote of confidence from Disney’s chairman Susan Arnold, who backed the CEO’s resolution on Thursday.
“The energy of The Walt Disney Firm’s companies popping out of the pandemic is a testomony to Bob’s management and imaginative and prescient for the corporate’s future,” she mentioned. “On this essential time of enterprise development and transformation, we’re dedicated to protecting Disney on the profitable path it’s on at the moment, and Bob and his management crew have the help and confidence of the Board.”
Axing a possible successor isn’t new within the cutthroat world of media, neither is it an anomaly at Disney.
Iger purged chief working officer Tom Staggs in 2016 when the exec was broadly seen because the CEO’s successor, and Michael Eisner pushed out Jeffrey Katzenberg in 1994.