Disney HR Leader Leaves Company; Iger Finds Replacement in Sonia Coleman

sonia coleman a black woman with straight hair in a black outfit smiles before the disney copany entrance arch

Today, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that Sonia Coleman will assume a new role as the Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of The Walt Disney Company next month.

Paul Richardson, who was responsible for hiring initiatives such as the Heroes Work Here veterans program, will depart after over 15 years in the Disney role, passing the torch to Coleman. The move comes on the heels of changes made by Iger to reorganize Chapek’s administration decisions and return power to the creative departments.

The Walt Disney Company

Credit: Disney

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 For instance, Bruce Vaughn recently returned to his role as head of Walt Disney Imagineering alongside Barbara Bouza. According to the Company announcement, Coleman will:

Report directly to Iger and will be responsible for leading Disney’s human resources strategy, global talent acquisition, leadership development, diversity and inclusion, organizational design and cultural development, employee education and development, compensation, and benefits, HR operations and technology, and global security.


Credit: MSN

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Before this promotion, Coleman previously served as Senior Vice President, Human Resources for Disney General Entertainment and ESPN, as Vice President, Human Resources, Disney Consumer Products, and as the company’s general HR VP, providing corporate strategy, employee relations, and recruitment. Moreover, on the reasoning behind her promotion, Iger described the professional as “a gifted leader and strong advocate for our employees”  with “proven expertise leading the human resources function,” particularly during times of unprecedented change.

Of course, he’s likely alluding to both the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the attack on the Walt Disney World Resort by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Iger’s own corporate restructuring in the wake of Bob Chapek’s termination. In addition, after thanking Richardson for his service and contributions, he added that Coleman is the perfect successor to implement new operating guidelines to allow Disney to “capitalize on the opportunities ahead.”

bob iger in his office

Credit: Variety

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Furthermore, Sonia expressed her gratitude for the CEO’s good faith and her honor at being named Senior Executive VP, a role in which she plans to champion for its Cast Members and employees worldwide, whose “talent, dedication, and enthusiasm” will empower them during this company-wide transformation and to keep creating magic. Her new title becomes effective April 8, 2023.

About Spencer Johnette

Spencer is a lifelong lover of theme parks, princesses, and Disney history that recently relocated to Northern California. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, where she was the founder and first president of the campus Disney Club. A former Cast Member still mourning the loss of the Disney Store, she now haunts the Walt Disney Family Museum halls and shares her opinions with anyone who will listen @gothelsflower.