The Walt Disney Company has released a press release confirming a major shakeup at the top of the company: CEO Bob Iger is stepping down, effective immediately. As of February 25, Bob Chapek, Disney’s Parks, Consumer Products and Studio Businesses leader is the company’s CEO.
“With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of 21st Century Fox well under way, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Iger said in the statement. “I have the utmost confidence in Bob [Chapek] and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months.” Iger will transition to a new position, directing Disney’s Creative Endeavors and leading its board of directors before his contract expires on December 31, 2021. Iger’s retirement has long been foretold, but this sudden relinquishment of power is wholly unexpected.
Since taking the reigns at the House of Mouse in 2005, Iger lead the company to unprecedented heights. Notably, Iger snapped up Lucasfilm in 2012, Marvel in 2009 (each for $4 billion USD) and Pixar from Apple CEO Steve Jobs for $7.4 billion USD in 2006. In 2019, Iger oversaw the much-ballyhooed $52.4 billion USD Disney-Fox merger and the launch of perhaps his crowning achievement, Disney+.
Susan Arnold, the Disney Board’s lead director, said that Bob Chapek was “unanimously” voted in as Disney’s new CEO after the executives vetted a variety of other candidates. Chapek is a 27-year Disney veteran who oversaw landmark moments like the launch of Shanghai Disney Resort, various Marvel- and Star Wars-themed park attractions and the expansion of the Disney Cruise Line.
“Bob Iger has built Disney into the most admired and successful media and entertainment company,” said Chapek in the statement. “I will continue to embrace these same strategic pillars going forward. Everything we have achieved thus far serves as a solid foundation for further creative storytelling, bold innovation and thoughtful risk-taking.”