Forward-looking: Iger leaves Disney in a great position, having acquired both Marvel Entertainment in 2009 and LucasFilm in 2012. More recently, he led the launch of ESPN+ and Disney+ and helped acquire assets from 21st Century Fox.

Disney has announced that longtime CEO Bob Iger has stepped down from his position and is being replaced by Bob Chapek, effective immediately.

Iger joined the Disney family in 1996 when the company purchased Capital Cities / ABC. In 1999, he was promoted to president of Walt Disney International and chairman of the ABC Group before being named president and chief operating officer of Disney less than a year later. Come early 2005, Iger got the call to succeed Michael Eisner as CEO, a role he has held ever since.

Chapek most recently served as chairman of Disney parks, experiences and products. He has been with Disney since 1993 and will be just the seventh CEO in the company's nearly 100-year history.

Iger, meanwhile, will become executive chairman and lead the company's board and creative endeavors. His current contract expires on December 31, 2021.

Iger said that with the successful launch of Disney+ and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox underway, he believes this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO. "I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney's multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the company's creative endeavors," Iger added.

Susan Arnold, lead director of the Disney board, said they have been actively engaged in succession planning for the past several years. "After consideration of internal and external candidates, we unanimously elected Bob Chapek as the next CEO of The Walt Disney Company," Arnold said.

Shares in Disney are down 1.13 percent on the news as of writing.

Masthead credit: Bob Iger by JStone.