Bob Iger named CEO of Disney in shocking development

CNN affairs

In a move that shocked Hollywood, Bob Iger, one of the most notable CEOs in Walt Disney company history, returns to once again lead the media empire.

Bob Chapek, who succeeded Iger as CEO in 2020, will step down immediately.

“We thank Bob Chapek for his services to Disney throughout his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” Susan Arnold, Disney’s board of directors, said in a statement Sunday evening. “The board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely positioned to lead the company through this critical period.”

The announcement, while surprising to the media industry, comes at a time of great evolution for Disney. The company is coming off a mediocre earnings report that showed growth for its streaming efforts. However, that came with a high price. Disney’s streaming business lost $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter. That report sent Disney’s stock plummeting after a year of sluggish to poor performance.

Chapek guided the company through the pandemic, one of the most tumultuous periods in its nearly 100-year history, but ultimately Disney decided its future was in better hands with Iger.

Away from the pandemic, Chapek had a short but bumpy tenure as head of Disney. Chapek, who was president of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products before taking over from Iger, faced salary issues with Scarlett Johansson, one of the company’s biggest stars, as well as Disney’s battles with Florida and its own employees. regarding the state’s controversial bill restricting certain LGBTQ topics in the classroom.

Shares of Disney have also taken a hit recently. It’s currently down about 40% this year.

As for Iger, he has an almost mythical status as the leader of Disney (DIS). He was CEO for 15 years and was instrumental in acquiring major brands such as Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, the home of Star Wars. Iger also closed the $71 billion deal to buy most of 21st Century Fox and started the streaming revolution at Disney (DIS) with the formation of Disney (DIS)+ in November 2019.

Iger remained with Disney as executive chairman, leading the company’s creative efforts. He officially left the company at the end of last year after almost 50 years.

Disney said Sunday that Iger has agreed to serve as CEO for two years with “a mandate from the board to set the strategic direction for renewed growth and work closely with the board in developing a successor to lead the company at the end of his term.”

The move is also surprising as Chapek has just extended his contract. The company’s board of directors voted unanimously to extend Chapek’s contract as CEO for another three years, the company said in June. Chapek’s new contract started in July and runs until 2025.

It also appeared that Iger was retiring with his legacy as one of Disney’s most notable and successful CEOs. Now he’s back.

“I am extremely optimistic about the future of this great company and am delighted that the board of directors has asked me to return as CEO,” Iger said in a statement on Sunday. “Disney and its incomparable brands and franchises hold a special place in the hearts of so many people around the world – especially in the hearts of our employees, whose dedication to this company and its mission is an inspiration.”

Iger added that he is “deeply honored to be asked to once again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unparalleled, bold storytelling.”

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