Sonia Coleman appointed as the new CHRO at Walt Disney

Coleman will walk in the shoes of Paul Richardson who is leaving the company after working there for more than 15 years


Sonia Coleman has been appointed as the senior executive-VP and Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) of The Walt Disney Company starting April 8. Coleman will walk in the shoes of Paul Richardson who is leaving the company after working there for more than 15 years. She will be reporting directly to Bob Iger, CEO, Disney.

For Coleman, the CHRO role will involve leading and overseeing various aspects of Disney’s human resources strategy, such as global talent acquisition, organisational design and cultural development, diversity and inclusion, leadership development, compensation and benefits, employee education and development, HR operations and technology, and global security.

Coleman has been an integral part of Disney for over 15 years. She joined Disney in 2008 as vice president-HR, at their Consumer Products store. She held the role for a good eight years and was then named the VP-HR at the Walt Disney Company in May 2016.

In April 2017, Coleman was elevated to the role of SVP-HR at Walt Disney Company, where she managed the role for six years. At the senior role, she looked after engagement strategies for Disney’s corporate, enterprise, and cross-functional employees, and served as the lead HR business partner to the company’s senior corporate executives. Coleman also served as the strategic HR leader during a period of large-scale change and complex organisational transformation.

Prior to joining Disney, Coleman held various strategic HR positions at The Children’s Place between 2004 and 2008. She also served as a strategic HR leader at The Home Depot from 1992 to 2004, where she navigated a period of significant change and complex organisational transformation

Thanking Richardson for his many years of service and contributions, Iger said in his official statement, “Sonia is widely respected across the company as a gifted leader and strong advocate for our employees. Her proven expertise leading the human resources function for our general entertainment businesses and ESPN during a period of unprecedented transformation makes her the perfect choice to lead this function company-wide as we implement our new operating structure and position Disney to capitalise on the opportunities ahead.”

“It is truly an honour to be named to this role, and I am grateful for the confidence that Bob has placed in me,” Coleman said. “Disney is unrivalled because of the talent, dedication, and enthusiasm of our cast members and employees. They are the key to our success, and I look forward to being their greatest champion, in partnership with our exceptional HR teams around the world, as we move forward through the important company-wide transformation underway that will truly empower the people behind the magic of Disney,” she added.

Coleman holds a Bachelor of Science degree in organisational leadership from Chapman University and a Master of Science degree in human resource management from Florida International University.

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