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The Disney board of directors has announced that Bob Iger will step down as the CEO. Bob Chapek will be taking his place effective immediately. It’s a shocking turn considering Iger still has almost two years left of his contract. However, Iger has announced he will use his remaining time with the media company to continue his role as Executive Chairman. Iger will resume leading Disney creatively and its board until December 31, 2021. Chapek will ease into the new title by assuming the day-to-day roles as the seventh Chief Executive Officer in the Walt Disney Company’s nearly 97-year history.
Following Disney’s recent launch of its own streaming platform in November and the $71 billion acquisition of 20th Century Fox last year, Bob Iger said he believes “this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO.” Iger announced he will be working with Bob Chapek “closely” over the next 22 months he has left with the Walt Disney Company as he focuses on the creative side. Bob Chapek has been the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products since 2018 and an employee at the company since 1993.
Bob Chapek was picked out at Disney’s next CEO early on, according to Bob Iger’s conference call with investors this afternoon shortly after the announcement (via Deadline). The board has been working on a succession plan for sometime, and Chapek has ”proven himself exceptionally qualified,” per Iger’s words. He explained further with this official 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. 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.
Before becoming chairman of Disney Parks’ experiences and products, Bob Chapek was the chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for three years. From 2011 to 2015, he was the president of Disney’s former consumer products segment. Chapek has also led Disney’s distribution and home entertainment wings in the past. Bob Chapek oversaw the expansion of Disney Parks, including in the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – most recently with the debut of the immersive new attraction, Rise of Resistance.
Chapek is 60 years old and has commented to CNBC that he fully intends “to follow” the course Bob Iger has laid. Michael Nathanson, a senior research analyst at MoffettNathanson, called Chapek “probably the best qualified” person in the company to assume the role as CEO. Since the decision was revealed, Disney’s stock has fallen over 3.5%.
Bob Iger certainly has made some massive changes and growth to the Walt Disney Company since taking over for Michael Eisner back in 2005. He’s been behind the acquisition of several studios, including Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. Iger also launched Shanghai Disneyland back in 2016, which is currently in the middle of an expensive shutdown due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Bob Chapek commented that he was “honored and humbled” to assume the role of Disney’s new CEO. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more major updates concerning Disney.