Disney CEO Bob Iger to step down

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2020
Longtime Disney CEO and former Apple board member Bob Iger will relinquish reins to the entertainment giant effective immediately, the company announced on Tuesday.

Iger and Chapek
Former Disney chief executive Bob Iger (left) with current CEO Bob Chapek.


In an announcement, Disney's board of directors said Iger will remain at the company to direct "creative endeavors" as executive chairman until the end of his contract on Dec. 31, 2021. Taking his place as CEO is Bob Chapek, a seasoned executive who most recently served as chairman of Disney parks, experiences and products.

"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," Iger said in a statement.

During his more than 15 years as CEO, Iger successfully negotiated a number of important acquisitions, including Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox, that transformed the already powerful media company into a industry behemoth. The $7.4 billion Pixar deal, inked in 2006, brought late Apple co-founder and majority Pixar stakeholder Steve Jobs into the fold as Disney's largest private shareholder.

What started as a tumultuous relationship with Jobs quickly transformed into a partnership that heralded ever closer ties between Disney and Apple. It was Iger, with Jobs' cajoling, who agreed to distribute ABC programming through the iTunes store, a major win for Apple's digital services arm.

"We got backlash from everybody -- from affiliates, retailers, and the guilds," he said. "But it changed my relationship with him [Jobs] bigtime," Iger said in a 2014 interview. "And it led to a much better dialogue on Pixar."

Iger took a seat on Apple's board in 2011, but was forced to resign last year ahead of the launch of Apple TV+ competitor Disney+ in November. Disney's service enjoyed early success, attracting 28.6 million subscribers in less than three months of availability.

Iger pushed back retirement several times over the past few years, but in 2019 signaled intent to follow through with a succession plan. During Disney's investor day last year, Iger said, "2021 will be the time for me to finally step down," later explaining that he wanted to focus on creative projects following the successful acquisition of Fox and launch of Disney+, reports CNBC.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    dws-2dws-2 Posts: 276member
    Wow, that's sudden. I wonder what happened. Power struggle? Illness? Something else?
    anantksundaramravnorodomStrangeDays
  • Reply 2 of 9
    dws-2 said:
    Wow, that's sudden. I wonder what happened. Power struggle? Illness? Something else?
    Indeed. I was wondering the same thing. We'll know soon enough.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,278member
    It’s been said, for a while now that he would step down from the CEO spot, so it’s not entirely surprising, just the timing. But a reason has been supposed that after the successful introduction of Disney’s new service, he would do it.
    edited February 2020 chemengin1
  • Reply 4 of 9
    d_2d_2 Posts: 103member
    As someone that follows Disney pretty closely, including a number of the hardcore fans discussion boards, I can summarize that the overall fan opinion of the parks has been trending negative for many months. A quick check of said boards is showing many of these fans in panic, as Chapek’s been the number one owner of the parks’ numerous issues.
    edited February 2020 OferstanthemanrazorpitSpamSandwich
  • Reply 5 of 9
    OferOfer Posts: 124unconfirmed, member
    d_2 said:
    As someone that follows Disney pretty closely, including a number of the hardcore fans discussion boards, I can summarize that the overall fan opinion of the parks has been trending negative for many months. A quick check of said boards is showing many of these fans in panic, as Chapek’s been the number one owner of the parks’ numerous issues.
    Well that doesn’t bode well for the future of Disney. Used to live in LA, and I’d have to agree that the parks are definitely not what they used to be (at least not Disneyland). Definitely showing it’s age.
    razorpit
  • Reply 6 of 9
    I don't see anything suspicious or surprising here - Last April during Disney's investor day presentations, Iger himself stated that he would step down from Disney once his contract expires in 2021 and that a succession plan was in the works. In times when he had extended his contract he had given the same reason as today: the Fox deal. Choosing now to cede after the Disney+ launch is an entirely logical time to hand over the reins.
    stanthemanbeowulfschmidtchemengin1argonaut
  • Reply 7 of 9
    I say he negotiated a pretty good deal with Apple (TV+). 
  • Reply 8 of 9
    d_2 said:
    As someone that follows Disney pretty closely, including a number of the hardcore fans discussion boards, I can summarize that the overall fan opinion of the parks has been trending negative for many months. A quick check of said boards is showing many of these fans in panic, as Chapek’s been the number one owner of the parks’ numerous issues.
    I follow along as well, Chapek is taking tons of heat on DisTwitter and small pockets of the boards.  Chapek just has zero personality and he comes across terrible.  The most powerful position in entertainment should have some charisma. 

    As for Iger, he grew Disney into Its true value. $50b to as high as $250b market cap under his leadership.
    stanthemanchemengin1argonaut
  • Reply 9 of 9
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    And here we were thinking he left/kicked out of the Apple board because of Disney+ and Apple TV+ when really he was most likely weaning off the business.
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