Since the return of Bob Iger as the CEO of Disney, there have been many major changes at the executive level, as restructuring has resulted in over 7000 people being let go to try to straighten out the problems within the company including reducing spending.

And this week, it was revealed by Variety that Disney’s chief diversity officer, Latondra Newton, has decided to leave the Walt Disney Company after six years, to join another company’s board and focus on a creative company she owns.  Prior to joining Disney, she worked at Toyota since 1991 and held a variety of senior roles including corporate planning, research, public affairs, marketing, philanthropy and diversity.

The role involved her overseeing Disney’s strategic diversity and inclusion initiatives, helping Disney and its employees around the world tell stories that entertain, enlighten and inspire.   She partnered with various business segments and leaders across the enterprise to build on Disney’s commitment to produce entertainment that reflects a global audience and sustains a welcoming and inclusive workplace for everyone.

It has been revealed that Julie Merges, SVP Talent Acquisition, will now run the DEI operations on an interim basis while Disney searches for Newton’s replacement.  This is the second big change at the top executive level this month, following the news that Disney’s Chief Financial Officer, Christine McCarthy, will also be leaving the company, leading many to speculate that Disney is looking to change things up, to fix many of the issues it’s been having.

An internal memo from Disney chief human resources officer Sonia Coleman revealed the news to staff on Tuesday:

To our extended DEI and HR team,

I’m writing to share the news that Latondra Newton has decided to leave The Walt Disney Company to pursue other endeavors.

Since joining the company in 2017, Latondra has led the company’s strategic diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, including partnering with stakeholders across the enterprise to amplify stories of the world by people around the world. She has been dedicated to ensuring every person sees themselves and their life experiences represented in a meaningful and authentic way.

I know you all join me in thanking Latondra for her many contributions, including the lasting impact she has had on our employees and our culture. Working alongside all of you and so many others, she has inspired countless cast members and employees to bring about lasting change and to help create a world where we can all feel safe and we all belong.

Latondra’s direct reports will report to Julie Merges on an interim basis until a new DEI leader is identified. I want to thank Julie for leading this team along with her Talent Acquisition organization. Additionally, Shelby Curry and the DEI Internal Communications team will continue reporting to Carrie Brown in her role leading internal communications & engagement for the company.

Thank you all for your continued contributions to our DEI efforts. I know we can count on you to keep this important work moving forward during this leadership transition.


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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Twitter: Facebook:

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