Zenia Mucha, Disney’s longtime head of corporate communications known for playing rough with the media, is leaving the company after a 20-year tenure. Mucha will step down sometime next year, according to an SEC filing.
Alan Braverman, who was senior executive vice president and general counsel, is also leaving the company as of Jan. 1. Mucha will exit either on the same day or shortly thereafter “to effect a smooth transition.”
Mucha was the longtime ally of former Disney CEO Bob Iger, who is himself stepping away officially at the end of this year after two years as executive chairman, when his contract is up.
Mucha and Braverman’s contracts were set to expire at the end of the year. No replacements have been named for either.
Mucha and Braverman were among Disney’s top earners. Braverman took home $8.5 million in 2020, while Mucha’s compensation was $4.9 million.
Disney reps did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
The two departures come with CEO Bob Chapek finally emerging as the face of the company’s leadership team. Chapek was named to the CEO role in February 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. Braverman and Mucha were part of Iger’s inner circle.
Mucha’s role included oversight of all global communications and duties as the company’s chief spokesperson and oversight of communication strategy and media relations for the company, its various business segments and its philanthropic and environmental initiatives. Her role also included oversight of internal communications, the Walt Disney Archives and D23.
She has been in her current role since 2002, shortly after Iger ascended to the CEO job in 2000. She joined Disney in 2001. She got her start in New York politics leading communications for former governor George Pataki and senator Alfonse D’amato.
During her tenure, Mucha was known for her fierce reputation of playing hardball with journalists over stories that didn’t portray Disney’s family-friendly brand in a positive light. One of the most notable recent examples came in 2017 when the Los Angeles Times was banned from film screenings in response to a story about the company’s relationship with Anaheim. After outcry from other media outlets, Disney backed off.
Braverman has been the chief legal officer since 2003. Before that, he was in the same role with ABC; he was with ABC prior to its acquisition by Disney in 1995, having been with Capital Cities/ABC since 1993. He joined ABC from the law firm Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, where he had been since 1976.