Walt Disney Co. Taps ESPN’s Paul Richardson As Chief Human Resources Officer

Walt Disney Co. has named Paul Richardson as Senior Executive VP and Chief Human Resources Officer, effective July 1.

Richardson currently leads Human Resources for ESPN and was Disney’s first Chief Diversity Officer. He will succeed Jayne Parker, who previously announced she is leaving the company at the end of June after a 33-year career there. She’ll work closely with Richardson during the transition.

Richardson will report directly to CEO Bob Chapek, overseeing Disney’s human resources strategy, global talent acquisition, leadership development, diversity and inclusion, organizational design, cultural development, employee education, compensation and benefits, HR operations and technology, employee relations and global security.

“Paul Richardson is a supremely talented, strategic and personable leader with a deep passion for enriching the employee experience by championing the unique talents and perspectives of our diverse, global workforce,” Chapek said in the announcement Thursday.

Richardson said Disney’s employees and Cast Members are “absolutely key to Disney’s success.”

“Their exceptional talent, ingenuity, diverse backgrounds and experiences, and deep sense of commitment even in the most trying times are truly an inspiration. I look forward to supporting them and working with our HR leaders around the world as we advance the company’s ambitious business goals and further cement Disney’s well-earned reputation as one of the most desirable places to work,” he said.

At ESPN, where he’s led HR since 2007, he supports 50 business units and 5,000 employees. He sits on the ESPN Board of Directors and Executive Committee and oversees its Corporate Citizenship team, as well as its worldwide Global Security & Facilities Operations.

Richardson also served as the first chief diversity officer at Disney from 2011 to 2017, partnering with diversity leaders across business segments to define and implement global D&I strategies. 

Programs he launched include Disney’s signature Heroes Work Here, to employ veterans; the Global Workplace & Women’s Initiative; and a growth initiative targeting U.S. Hispanics. At ESPN, he launched a Women’s Leadership Conference, nine Employee Resource Groups and an Executive Diversity Council.

In 2019, Richardson initiated Disney’s Black Employee & Consumer Experience, focused on increasing Black employee representation, enhancing development opportunities for Black executives, and finding ways to make the company’s content and products more relevant to diverse consumers.

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