The news came Thursday morning as a shock to the industry, including many at Disney. Rice is being replaced by his top lieutenant, Dana Walden, who continues forward as one of Hollywood’s most powerful executives. Rice reportedly had no idea his firing was coming, and was told by CEO Bob Chapek Wednesday on a call that lasted less than seven minutes. Multiple sources say that Chapek ultimately decided Rice was not a fit for Disney’s new corporate culture.
View the memo in full below.
I am incredibly sad that this will be the last “weekend read” that I will be sending you. It has been such a pleasure and a privilege to work alongside each of you here at Disney and many of you at 21st Century Fox.
I am so proud of the work we have done together, the friendships we have forged and the consistent success we have celebrated. We have the honor of working in the world’s greatest and most creative industry at a time of enormous change. In the midst of this, together we have created amazing and award-winning television shows and I am eternally grateful for your kindness and generosity on the journey.
As I depart Disney, may I leave you with a last thought: remain committed to excellence and always recognize that our stories are dependent upon the imagination and artistry of the writers, directors, producers, actors, and craftsman that we have engaged to call Disney home. It has been so much fun to collaborate with them to bring their ideas to life.
So, while I will no longer be riding along beside you, I wish you happy trails and hope that our paths will cross again.
Warmly and with gratitude,
(Pictured, left to right: Peter Rice, Dana Walden)