Media Moves

Bob Iger surprisingly leaves Disney CEO seat

February 26, 2020

Posted by Irina Slav

Bob Iger has announced his resignation from the post of CEO of Disney, effective immediately.

Sarah Whitten reported the news for CNBC:

Bob Iger is stepping down as CEO.

The media mogul, who has been at the helm of Disney since 2005 and extended his contract with the company twice during his tenure, said Tuesday that he is leaving his post ahead of his contract expiring in 2021.

Disney announced that Bob Chapek, the company’s head of parks, experiences and products, would be his successor. Iger will assume the role of executive chairman through Dec. 31, 2021.

“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 Tuesday. “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.”

Shares of the company fell less than 2% in aftermarket trading Tuesday.

The BBC wrote:

Disney said it had appointed Bob Chapek, who previously ran the company’s parks and products division, to replace him.

Mr Iger will remain Disney’s executive chairman until the end of next year to direct “creative endeavours”.

The move came as a surprise.

Mr Iger, who is considered by many to be the most powerful man in Hollywood, had served as chief executive since 2005. He has previously announced plans to retire only to push back his departure date.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Iger said it was the “optimal time” to begin to hand control of the company to a new leader.

Disney recently completed the acquisition of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox entertainment empire and launched the Disney+ streaming channel late last year.

Earlier, Mr Iger presided over the firm’s acquisition of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.

“The company has gotten larger and more complex just in the recent 12 months,” Mr Iger said on a conference call on Tuesday.

CNN’s Frank Pallotta and Brian Stelter wrote:

Iger, one of America’s most respected CEOs, succeeded Michael Eisner in 2005. During his tenure, Iger oversaw the acquisition of Marvel Studios, Pixar, and Lucasfilm, all of which produced films that shattered box office records. Under his leadership, 21st Century Fox came into Disney’s fold, resulting in a new roster of intellectual property for the nearly 100-year-old company.

In 2019, he unveiled Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and at Walt Disney World to incredible fanfare. But among his final acts as CEO — and arguably one of the most important of his tenure — was the launch of Disney+, a streaming service with exclusive programs to compete with Netflix.

His remarks on an investor call after the announcement appeared to rule out some of the speculated reasons for a hasty exit, such as a health crisis or a late entry into the presidential race.

Iger explored a run for president a few years ago, but dedicated himself to the 21st Century Fox transaction and Disney+ instead.

Iger said on the call that it was the right time to step down because he needs to spend more time on the “creative side” of the company.


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