Robert A. Iger, the company’s CEO, announced today that Sonia Coleman has been designated Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of The Walt Disney Corporation, starting April 8. Coleman, who most recently served as Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Disney Entertainment and ESPN, follows Paul Richardson, who leaves Disney after more than 15 years of service.
Coleman will be responsible for leading Disney’s human resources strategy, global talent acquisition, leadership development, diversity and inclusion, organizational design and cultural development, employee education and development, compensation and benefits, HR operations and technology, and global security in his new role as Chief Human Resources Officer.
Iger stated that Sonia is highly regarded as a great leader and a staunch champion for the company’s employees. “Her experience leading the human resources function for our general entertainment businesses and ESPN during a period of unprecedented transformation makes her the ideal candidate to lead this function company-wide as we implement our new operating structure and position Disney to capitalize on upcoming opportunities. I would also want to congratulate Paul Richardson for his many years of service to the firm and his contributions to various ongoing projects, including our Heroes Work Here program for recruiting veterans.
Coleman stated, “It is absolutely an honor to be appointed to this position, and I am grateful for Bob’s faith in me.” “Disney is unequaled because to the skill, commitment, and zeal of our cast members and staff. They are the secret to our success, and I look forward to being their biggest champion, in cooperation with our amazing HR teams throughout the world, as we move ahead with the significant company-wide change ongoing that will really empower the people behind the magic of Disney.”
Coleman was most recently responsible for employee development and engagement, recruitment and compensation, organizational development, and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts for ESPN and the general entertainment portfolio of businesses at Disney Entertainment, which includes ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Owned Televisions Stations, Disney Branded Television, Disney Television Studios (20th Television, ABC Signature, 20th Television Animated Features), among others.
Coleman held the position of senior vice president of human resources at Disney General Entertainment from 2017 to 2018. She handled HR strategy, change management efforts, organizational development, and engagement strategies for Disney’s Corporate, enterprise, and cross-functional workers, and served as the primary HR business partner to the company’s senior corporate leaders beginning in May 2016. She was also in charge of employee relations for the business.
Coleman became Vice President of Human Resources at Disney Consumer Products in 2008, a position she held for eight years. Before Disney, Coleman worked at The Children’s Place from 2004 to 2008, where she held multiple strategic HR responsibilities; and The Home Depot from 1992 to 2004, where she served as the strategic HR leader through a period of large-scale change and difficult organizational transformation.
Coleman holds a Bachelor of Science degree in organizational leadership from Chapman University and a Master of Science degree in human resource management from Florida International University.