One of the most famous CEOs in the history of the Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger, is coming back to run the media empire. This news shocked Hollywood. Bob Chapek, who took over as CEO from Iger in 2020, is leaving his job right away.
“We thank Bob Chapek for his many years of service to Disney, including leading the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” Disney’s Chairman of the Board, Susan Arnold, said in a statement on Sunday night.
“The Board has decided that Bob Iger is the only person who can lead the Company through this crucial time as the industry changes and becomes more complicated.”
Even though the news came as a big surprise to the media industry, it comes at a time when Disney is changing a lot. The company just released a less-than-impressive earnings report that showed growth in its streaming efforts. But that came at a very high price. In the fourth quarter, Disney’s streaming business lost $1.5 billion. After a year of slow to bad performance, Disney’s stock dropped when that news came out.
Chapek led the company through the pandemic, which was one of the most difficult times in its almost 100-year history. In the end, Disney decided that Iger was a better choice for the company’s future.
As the leader of Disney, Iger is almost like a god. He was CEO for 15 years and helped buy big brands like Marvel and Lucasfilm, which is where Star Wars is made. Iger also started the streaming revolution at Disney in November 2019 when he made Disney+.
Disney said on Sunday that Iger has agreed to be CEO for two years with “a mandate from the Board to set the strategic direction for renewed growth and to work closely with the Board to develop a successor to lead the Company when his term is up.” Even more strange is that Chapek just renewed his contract, so this move makes no sense.
The company said in June that Chapek’s contract as CEO was extended for another three years by a vote of the board of directors. The new contract for Chapek started in July and was supposed to last until 2025. Also, it looked like Iger was going to retire since he was one of Disney’s most successful and well-known CEOs.
Iger said in a statement on Sunday, “I am very optimistic about the future of this great company, and I am thrilled that the Board has asked me to come back as CEO.” “Disney and its unique brands and franchises have a special place in the hearts of so many people around the world, but especially in the hearts of our employees, whose dedication to this company and its mission is an inspiration.”
Iger also said that he is “deeply honored to be asked to lead this amazing team again, with a clear mission to inspire generations through unmatched, bold storytelling through creative excellence.”