Bob Iger returns as Disney CEO in surprising executive shakeup

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,459   +171
Staff member
Recap: It is not often that you get called back to a company after reaching the top of the corporate ladder but that's exactly what has happened to Bob Iger. The executive stepped down as Disney CEO in early 2020 and was replaced by Bob Chapek, a company man that had been with Disney since 1993. With the appointment, Chapek became just the seventh CEO in Disney's nearly 100-year history.

Over the weekend, Disney announced Iger's return as CEO effective immediately. Iger, who is replacing Chapek, will help develop a strategy for renewed growth and work with the Board to forge a successor to take over at the end of his planned two-year term.

Chairman of the Board Susan Arnold said Iger is uniquely situated to lead the company as it embarks on a complex period of industry transformation. "We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic," Arnold added.

Iger said he is extremely optimistic for the future of Disney and is thrilled to be asked by the Board to return. "Disney and its incomparable brands and franchises hold a special place in the hearts of so many people around the globe—most especially in the hearts of our employees, whose dedication to this company and its mission is an inspiration," Iger said.

Investors seem receptive to the news as Disney's stock is up more than six percent is morning trading.

Disney's decision to bring back Iger is a bit surprising, especially considering the Board renewed Chapek's contract back in June with a new three-year deal that started July 1. Disney announced strong subscriber numbers for its streaming division in its fiscal fourth quarter financial report earlier this month. Earnings missed the mark, however, as both revenue and earnings per share were below Wall Street analysts' consensus forecast.

Following Iger was always going to be a tough task, and the pandemic certainly threw a wrench into the mix as theater and theme park shutdowns greatly impacted Disney's business in Chapek's first year. Ongoing economic struggles will no doubt be a key focus during Iger's early days back. Only time will tell how this stint affects his overall legacy with the House of Mouse.

Chapek didn't give a statement in Disney's press release. As of writing, we don't know if he plans to stay with the company.

Image credit: Craig Adderley, Joel Sutherland

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SirDigby

Posts: 926   +821
TechSpot Elite
Seems like they really threw Chapek under the bus, I didn't think they were doing a particularly bad job to be honest, the latest Marvel releases have been a let down but it was always going to be a tough act following the Infinity Saga, and that'd be on Kevin Feige's head not Chapek's.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,772   +6,597
One disappointing quarter rarely leads to canning the CEO, especially when there's lots of plebs to lay off to bring the stick price back up. There's something going on behind the scenes here.
It may have to do with the parks, the trend since Chapek's takeover has been extreme cost cutting, and it's produced notable downtrends since the reopenings.

That beign said, I agree with SirDigby
Seems like they really threw Chapek under the bus
Disney has been on a downward trend for years Iger is responsible for overpaying for star wars, and fox, and the disaster that was the handling of the star wars IP ( a list so long it could be its own article). He also greenlit the now frankly repetitive marvel franchise sequels that are not bringing in the big bucks. Iger was shown the retirement door because the rotten fruits were coming to light, disney has lost billions overall on its acquisitions and park attendance was on a downtrend before the pandemic. Chapek is a cost cutting madman, but he was given a company with a massive debt load as well.

Iger's play was to buy IP and spam the shat out of it to make money, but that kind of play is not sustainable. I think the disney board is hoping bringing him back will spark the ever rising share price of the late 2010s but I dont see that happening unless iger puts them even further in debt, and debt was a major issue when he left, spamming more uninspired sequel sploodge isnt going to right the ship for long.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 8,270   +7,626
He's gone, good news if they can purge the rest of their board and go back to being an entertainment company and not a woke, political company they will be fine.
Good luck with that, my friend especially in light of Florida's "stop woke act" facing "tough courts". The latest - https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/floridas-anti-crt-stop-woke-law-blocked-by-federal-judge-32933105
Calling the state’s approach “positively dystopian,” a federal judge on Thursday blocked a law championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that restricts the way race-related concepts can be taught in universities.

The law is “antithetical to academic freedom and has cast a leaden pall of orthodoxy over Florida’s state universities,” Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker wrote in the 139-page ruling.

“Neither the state of Florida’s authority to regulate public school curriculum, nor its interest in preventing race or sex discrimination can support its weight. Nor does the First Amendment tolerate it,” he added.
 

EdmondRC

Posts: 401   +580
Good riddance Chapek, it's too bad you'll still get your golden parachute. However, I'm not sure Iger is any better.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 849   +1,362
Good luck with that, my friend especially in light of Florida's "stop woke act" facing "tough courts". The latest - https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/floridas-anti-crt-stop-woke-law-blocked-by-federal-judge-32933105
In Universities it makes sense for the law to not supersede instructors' curriculum. It's when minors are involved that introducing woke religious concepts is concerning. The Federal judge is just doing his job, and so is Florida's legislation. Mistakes aren't always bad if people learn from them.
One disappointing quarter rarely leads to canning the CEO, especially when there's lots of plebs to lay off to bring the stock price back up. There's something going on behind the scenes here.

Edit: typo
It's actually 11 months, but Disney is also a pretty old company at 99 years old so there's guaranteed to be internal politics involved. That said, it looks like this isn't the first "unexpected" move by Disney in regards to Chapek as it's now been almost 3 years of Disney struggling to transition its leadership:
Wikipedia said:
In 2020, Iger announced his intention to retire. On February 25 that year, the board of directors named Bob Chapek – then-chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products – the new chief executive, while appointing Iger executive chairman (an ad hoc post) to oversee the transition. In April however, the board unexpectedly extended Iger's mandate until the end of 2021, so he could guide Chapek and the company's senior management through the early COVID-19 pandemic. On December 31, 2021, Iger stepped down completely and was succeeded by Susan Arnold as chair of the board. On November 20, 2022, Iger replaced Chapek as the CEO. Iger agreed to hold the post for two years while looking for a successor that will lead the company.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,772   +6,597
I wonder how much of this is due to Chapek totally running the Star Wars and Marvel IPs -simultaneously- into the ground?
That was occurring long before chapek. The last jedi, solo, and the eternals were all greenlit under iger. He's also the one who greenlit all the sequels and spinnoffs that are the same product with different skins, the kind of thing that is killing off interest in marvel.
Good luck with that, my friend especially in light of Florida's "stop woke act" facing "tough courts". The latest - https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/floridas-anti-crt-stop-woke-law-blocked-by-federal-judge-32933105
Oh, so NOW they care about "muh free speech" :laughs:.

It's only a matter of time before rules about obscenity are used on all the racial sexist BS they push in education today. Rules that these educational institutions happily put in place and enforced for years when they were on the "right side" of history.
 

Bluescreendeath

Posts: 328   +499
I wonder how much of this is due to Chapek totally running the Star Wars and Marvel IPs -simultaneously- into the ground?
The garbage JJ Abrams Star Wars movies came out under Bob Iger. The last garbage Rise of Skywalker came out in 2019, which is a year before Bob Iger was pushed out and Bob Chapek came on.
Bob Chapek is responsible for the crappy Kenobi and Bobba Fett TV shows (though Mandalorian and Andor are great).
So it looks like both Bobs had their hand in some bad Star Wars stuff being made under them.