Disney fires television material chief Peter Rice as board backs CEO Bob Chapek

Disney fires TV content chief Peter Rice as board backs CEO Bob Chapek

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LOS ANGELES– Disney has actually suddenly fired Peter Rice, its most senior tv material executive, several sources informed CNBC on Thursday, while the business’s board revealed assistance for CEO Bob Chapek.

Rice, who pertained to Disney in 2019, after the business completed its offer to purchase 21 st Century Fox, didn’t understand the shooting was coming, according to an individual with understanding of the matter. He will be prospered by Dana Walden, Rice’s leading lieutenant, efficient right away.

Chapek informed Rice he wasn’t a cultural fit at Disney in a brief conference on Wednesday, among individuals stated. Based on feedback from other Disney staff members, the CEO decided Rice didn’t work collaboratively with others and was more thinking about managing his own fiefdom, the individual stated. Chapek likewise felt Walden mastered dealing with others, the individual stated.

“Dana is a dynamic, collaborative leader and cultural force who in just three years has transformed our television business into a content powerhouse that consistently delivers the entertainment audiences crave,” Chapek stated in a declaration.

Peter Rice, then-chairman and president of Fox Networks Group Inc., speaks at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, May 3, 2017.

David Paul Morris|Bloomberg|Getty Images

While usually well liked personally, Rice has inflamed some colleagues at Disney for monopolizing info instead of sharing it with colleagues– a design that might have operated at Fox however was uncomfortable at Disney, according to an individual acquainted with the matter. He encountered previous Disney head of streaming Kevin Mayer over who must have greenlight powers over selecting material for Disney+.

Still, Rice supported Chapek’s organizational modifications, which offered him back the power to have direct discussions with Hollywood skill about whether Disney would pick their work, another individual stated. Rice was provided a concealed payment, an individual acquainted with the matter stated.

Rice likewise talked to with WarnerBros Discovery CEO David Zaslav in 2015 for a leading material executive function, according to individuals acquainted with the matter. Zaslav eventually chose he didn’t desire the additional layer in between him and department heads, individuals stated. Disney ultimately restored Rice’s agreement in August 2021, which was set to go through 2024.

Chapek’s future

Rice was viewed as a possible prospect to prosper Chapek as Disney’s president, though that’s not why he was fired, 2 of individuals stated. Rice is appreciated in Hollywood, and his ouster is “unheard of” and “sizeable,” among individuals stated. A Disney representative decreased to comment. Rice could not right away be grabbed remark.

“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,” Susan Arnold, chair of Disney’s board, stated in a declaration. “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.”

Arnold’s declaration is the very first public remark Disney’s board has actually made about Chapek considering that he’s handled a number of debates this year, consisting of a falling out with previous CEO Bob Iger and his handling of interactions around Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. Chapek’s agreement is up in February.

Rice’s shooting comes as Disney is strongly working to broaden its streaming audience, a significant top priority ofChapek’s Rice supervise 20 th Television, ABC Entertainment, ABC News and FX, to name a few brand names.

— CNBC’s Julia Boorstin added to this report.