Bob Iger returns as CEO to Disney


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Bob Iger returns as CEO to Disney following the removal of Bob Chapek.

Hollywood was shaken on November 20, 2022 when the Walt Disney Company executive board announced that former CEO, Bob Iger, had been rehired to the position. When reinstating Iger, Disney fired Bob Chapek, the CEO of the Disney company from 2020 to 2022.

In an email to the Disney employees which was later leaked onto social media platforms on November 20, Iger stated that “with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility — and, [he] must admit, a bit of amazement — that [he] write[s] to [them] this evening with the news that [he is] returning.” According to CNN Business, Iger has agreed to a two year contract with the Disney company for a $1 million base salary with an annual bonus of $1 million along with an annual incentive-based award with a target value of $25 million. This was decided after the Disney executive board determined that Chapek had steered the company in the wrong direction in terms of stockholders as well as rank-and-file employees. Susan Arnold, Chairman of the Board for Disney stated on the night following the announcement that “The Board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the Company through this pivotal period.”

Iger previously served as CEO of the Walt Disney Company from 2005 to 2020, a period that was widely successful for Disney. During this time, the Disney company had grown through acquisitions of Pixar Animation, Marvel Entertainment, and Lucasfilm. There were also major advancements in Disney Parks projects such as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at both Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida along with the opening of Shanghai Disney Resort.

In 2021, after staying for two years as executive chairman of the Disney board, Iger officially left the company after delaying his retirement three times prior to 2021. Iger assured higher-ups in Hollywood that he did not plan on returning to the Disney company according to various sources including CNN and the New York Times. After retirement, the New York Times reported that Iger had spent his time as a venture partner for the Thrive Capital venture capital company, joined Genies Inc.–a crypto start up company where people can create avatars–, started work on a second book, and spent time on the Ionian Sea in a yacht. Iger stated in a statement on that Sunday evening that he was “extremely optimistic for the future of this great company and thrilled to be asked by the board to return as CEO.”

The previous Disney CEO, Bob Chapek, had his tenure plagued with weak management and financial instability as well as combat with the government. According to CNN Business, The New York Times, NBC, and other news outlets, Iger’s rehiring was warranted due to a disastrous earnings announcement for Disney when Wall Street reported $1.5 billion dollars in losses in the fourth quarter at its streaming division, rising from last year. Throughout Chapek’s tenure, Disney shares had dropped substantially. The public became angry over the Disney company’s mismanagement of the Disney Parks which had begun reporting “unfavorable attendance mix” according to Disney. There was even a heated dispute with the state of Florida over the controversial Parental Rights in Education law. When asked to comment by various news outlets, Chapek did not respond to questions.

Much of Hollywood, as well as the public, has expressed their approval at this new change in the Walt Disney Company’s management. Demands have surfaced on the internet for Iger to take charge of “bringing back magic” to the Disney Parks through investing in more innovation and through cutting price hikes in tickets. Neither Iger, nor the Disney company have responded to these demands just yet. However, Iger continues to state that he is “deeply honored to be asked to again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling.” Disney seems to have a bright future ahead with Bob Iger back as CEO.