What Latondra Newton’s Reported Exit Means for Bob Iger

Bob Iger is only supposed to be chief executive until November 2024.

The Walt Disney Company (DIS)’s C-suite is losing heads. Within the last week, reports have emerged of two C-suite executives leaving the company. Christine McCarthy, the chief financial officer, is out, the company announced on June 15. Latondra Newton, chief diversity officer, is also stepping down, according to an internal memo published by Variety yesterday (June 20).

Sign Up For Our Daily Newsletter

By clicking submit, you agree to our <a rel="noreferrer" href="http://observermedia.com/terms">terms of service</a> and acknowledge we may use your information to send you emails, product samples, and promotions on this website and other properties. You can opt out anytime.

See all of our newsletters
Latondra Newton wears a black dress on stage holding a microphone.
Latondra Newton has been chief diversity officer at Disney since 2017. Getty Images for Disney

The McCarthy exit “adds another wrinkle to an already complex story,” Wells Fargo analysts said in a report published June 16. Bob Iger is only slated to be CEO until November 2024, and one of his primary responsibilities is finding a successor. While he has no intention of staying at the company longer, the shifts at the highest level of Disney could change things.

“The Board is now in a position where it will be performing both CFO and CEO searches almost simultaneously,” Alan Gould, an analyst at Chicago-based Loop Capital Markets, said on June 16. “Given this unexpected change, we speculate whether the Board might ask Mr. Iger to remain CEO for an additional year,” he said. Newton’s departure, which was reported after Gould made his statement, likely adds pressure to Disney’s decision-makers.

The executive shakeup is happening in the shadow of seismic shifts in the entertainment industry, which Iger was brought on to navigate. Streaming platforms are facing increased competition and a battle toward profitability. Disney owns the Disney+ and ESPN+ streaming services, which the company has promised will be profitable by the end of fiscal 2024. Though the company is losing money on its direct-to-consumer business, it is narrowing its losses. In the three months ending April 1, Disney lost $659 million on the division, which is 26 percent less than the same time the year prior, according to Disney’s earnings statement.

The company’s stock is the second-lowest today it has been this year, dropping to $88.11 per share. The company’s all-time high price came in 2021 at $202 per share. At its 2023 height, it reached $113.

Who is Latondra Newton?

Newton has worked at Disney since 2017, when she joined as chief diversity officer. In that role, she led the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, which included producing content with diverse characters and perspectives. “She has been dedicated to ensuring every person sees themselves and their life experiences represented in a meaningful and authentic way,” Disney’s chief human resources officer Sonia Coleman said of Newton in the memo.

Prior to Disney, Newton spent the majority of her career at Toyota, beginning in 1991. She worked in various positions, including as a manager of facilities purchasing, group vice president and chief diversity officer. Black Enterprise, a magazine covering Black-owned businesses, recognized her twice as a top executive in corporate diversity.

Newton is leaving Disney to join the board of another company, Variety reported. Until Disney appoints a new chief diversity officer, Julie Merges, senior vice president of talent acquisition, will oversee Newton’s direct reports.

What Latondra Newton’s Reported Exit Means for Bob Iger