Bob Iger has stepped down as the CEO of The Walt Disney Company with immediate effect. That’s not something I expected to write today.
The bombshell came during yesterday’s investor call where Iger made the announcement that he, together with Disney’s board (of which he is now the executive chairman), had decided that this would be an opportune time for a change in leadership at the top of the company. Bob Chapek, who’s held a number of senior positions within the company during his time there, has been tapped to sit in the big chair and run the day-to-day operations. Iger, whose contract expires at the end of 2021, will remain with the company and focus more on overseeing creative endeavours within the business while also assisting Chapek during the transition.
Disney has come to dominate the global box office under Iger’s leadership. During his tenure as CEO he’s overseen the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel Entertainment, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox, and also seen the company take its successful first step into the streaming market with the launch of Disney+.
Iger confirmed the leadership change, stating at the announcement:
“With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO. I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney’s multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the company’s creative endeavors.”
“Bob will be the seventh CEO in Disney’s nearly 100-year history, and he has proven himself exceptionally qualified to lead the Company into its next century. Throughout his career, Bob has led with integrity and conviction, always respecting Disney’s rich legacy while at the same time taking smart, innovative risks for the future. His success over the past 27 years reflects his visionary leadership and the strong business growth and stellar results he has consistently achieved in his roles at Parks, Consumer Products and the Studio. Under Bob’s leadership as CEO, our portfolio of great businesses and our amazing and talented people will continue to serve the Company and its shareholders well for years to come.”
Chapek also weighed in at the announcement:
“I am incredibly honored and humbled to assume the role of CEO of what I truly believe is the greatest company in the world, and to lead our exceptionally talented and dedicated cast members and employees. Bob Iger has built Disney into the most admired and successful media and entertainment company, and I have been lucky to enjoy a front-row seat as a member of his leadership team. I share his commitment to creative excellence, technological innovation and international expansion, and I will continue to embrace these same strategic pillars going forward. Everything we have achieved thus far serves as a solid foundation for further creative storytelling, bold innovation and thoughtful risk-taking.”
It’s a smart decision, the timing is excellent, and there’s a lengthy transition period which will ensure stability both within the company and with shareholders. Iger leaves with an incredible track record behind his name, and has certainly left his mark on the industry – one that I suspect won’t be exceeded, or even matched, for a long time to come.
Last Updated: February 26, 2020