Peter Rice, then-Chairman and CEO 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
Disney Multiple sources told CNBC on Thursday that it has abruptly fired its most senior television content executive, Peter Rice.
According to a person with knowledge of the matter, Chawal did not know that the firing was taking place.
It was not immediately clear what caused Rice’s sudden departure from the company. According to the New York Times, the rice was “An ill fit with Disney’s corporate culture.” Other sources told Variety that The sudden decision was related to strategy And he had nothing to do with any of Rice’s personal dealings.
A source told CNBC that Rice was seen as a possible candidate to succeed CEO Bob Chapek as Disney’s chief executive officer. The source added that Rice is well-liked and respected in Hollywood, and that his removal is “unheard of” and “big.”
His contract was extended again in August 2021 and is set to run until 2024. Rice was given an undisclosed payment, a source familiar with the matter said.
Rice has over three decades of experience in the entertainment industry and has risen through the ranks at 21st Century Fox. When the company’s sale to Disney was finalized in 2019, Rice joined the Disney team. Dana Walden, who also transitioned from Fox to Disney, will take over her duties.
Disney confirmed the elevation of Walden, effective immediately. Rice did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
The firing comes as Disney is working aggressively to expand its streaming audience. Rice oversaw brands including 20th Television, ABC Entertainment, ABC News and FX.
Disney’s board expressed support for Chapek, who reported the news to Rice earlier this week.
“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, Disney’s board chair, said in a statement. “At this critical time of business growth and change, we are committed to keeping Disney on the successful path it is today, and Bob and his leadership team have the support and trust of the Board.”
— CNBC’s Julia Burstyn and Alexander Sherman contributed to this report.