Bob Iger’s Appointment as Disney CEO Shocks


Bob Iger, one of the most famous chief executives in the history of the Walt Disney Company, has stunned Hollywood by returning to helm the media empire.

Bob Chapek, who will succeed Iger as CEO in 2020, will step down immediately.

“We are grateful for Bob Chapek’s contributions to Disney throughout his long career, including leading the company through the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic,” Disney Chairman Susan Arnold said in a statement Sunday night. “The board has concluded that Bob Iger is uniquely positioned to lead the company through this critical period as Disney enters an increasingly complex period of industry transformation.”

The announcement, while a huge surprise to the media industry, comes at a time of big growth for Disney. The company delivered a lackluster earnings report that showed growth in its streaming business but cost it a hefty $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter. The report sent Disney shares tumbling after a year of lackluster to poor results.

Chapek steered the company through the pandemic, one of the most tumultuous periods in its nearly 100-year history, but ultimately Disney decided to take its future into Iger’s hands.

As Disney’s leader, Iger has an almost mythical status. He served as CEO for 15 years and was instrumental in acquiring major brands such as Marvel and Lucasfilm, the home of Star Wars. Iger also created Disney+ in November 2019, starting Disney’s streaming revolution.

Disney said on Sunday that Iger had agreed to serve as CEO for two years and that “the board empowered him to set the strategic direction for new growth and work closely with the board to develop a successor to lead the company after his term ends.”

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