Disney CEO Bob Iger steps down, Bob Chapek named new head

Brenda Watkins
February 27, 2020

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Iger has stepped down from his role as Disney CEO, and the House of Mouse has named Bob Chapek as his immediate successor.

"With the successful launch of Disney's direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of 21st Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO", Mr Iger said in a statement.

Chapek replaces another Bob, Robert Iger, who will remain executive chairman of the company (and executive chairman of the board of directors) through 2021, effectively remaining Chapek's boss for another 22 months.

On a call with investors, Iger said that staying on as executive chairman would allow him to work closely with Chapek as he transitioned into the new role overseeing Disney's TV, studios and streaming businesses.

Chapek has served as the chairman of the division since the division's creation in 2018, and was chairman of Walt Disney parks and resorts before that since 2015. "He has proven himself exceptionally qualified to lead the Company into its next century", Iger said in his statement. 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.

It will be interesting to see how soon this shift is felt by Disney customers, if at all. But. now things are about to change.

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"Arnold concluded: "[Chapek's] tremendous understanding of the breadth and depth of the company and appreciation for the special connection between Disney and its consumers makes him the flawless choice as the next CEO".

Chapek "did a great job of growing the home entertainment business and built consumer products at Disney", said Michael Wolf, founder of Activate, a technology and strategy consulting firm.

"Mr. Chapek will also benefit from the guidance of one of the world's most esteemed and successful business leaders, Bob Iger".

After about 15 years Bob Iger's reign as CEO of Disney has come to an end. "The Chief Executive Officer of the Company shall report to you in your capacity as Executive Chairman and to the Board". His experience leading Disney's parks division could be a signal that that's where Disney will continue to heavily invest. He was previously head of parks and resorts and before that president of consumer products.

Iger is credited with having also launched Disney's largest theme park in Shanghai, further expanding Disney's global footprint. In a CNBC interview, Chapek said the outbreak may be a "bump in the road", but he said the company could weather it given "affinity for the brand".

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