Disney Chief Diversity Officer Latondra Newton to Exit

Newton is leaving “to pursue other endeavors,” the company says in a memo

Latondra Newton
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Disney’s chief diversity officer and senior vice president Latondra Newton is exiting the company after six years, TheWrap has confirmed.

In an email shared to Disney’s extended DEI and HR teams and viewed by TheWrap, the company announced Newton would be leaving to pursue “other endeavors.” Newton will be joining the corporate board of another company soon, and will also focus more of her time on a creative company that she owns, person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to TheWrap.

Newton’s direct reports will report to Julie Merges until a new head of DEI is hired. Shelby Curry and the DEI internal communications team will continue to report to Carrie Brown, Disney’s internal communications and engagement executive.

Newton joined the Walt Disney Company in 2017, leading its strategic diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Prior to her time at Disney, Newton spent 26 years at Toyota, most recently as the motor corporation’s vice president of social innovation and chief diversity officer.

Below is a memo sent by Disney HR chief Sonia Coleman to the company’s DEI and HR teams, announcing Newton’s departure:

“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 transition.