Disney’s Diversity Chief Is Stepping Down.
Disney’s chief diversity officer and senior vice president Latondra Newton is exiting her role after more than six years, according to an internal memo obtained by Variety.
An individual with knowledge of the situation says that Newton will be joining the corporate board of another company soon, and plans to devote more time to her self-owned creative company.
In her role as head of DEI operations at Disney, Newton was charged with overseeing the company’s “commitment to produce entertainment that reflects a global audience and sustains a welcoming and inclusive workplace for everyone.”
Upon her departure, Newton’s direct reports will report to Julie Merges on an interim basis until a new chief diversity officer is named. Shelby Curry and the DEI internal communications team will continue to report to internal communications and engagement exec Carrie Brown.
Previously, Newton served as group vice president of social innovation and chief diversity officer at Toyota Motor North America, Inc. and chief program officer for Toyota Mobility Foundation, Toyota Motor Corporation. She began her career at Toyota in 1991.
Newton’s exit from Disney comes less than a week after CEO Bob Iger announced CFO Christine McCarthy’s decision to step down from her role.
See Disney HR chief Sonia Coleman’s note to staff announcing Newton’s departure below.
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 transitions.