Bob Iger, who has been one of the most successful CEOs in the history of The Walt Disney Company, is coming back to take over the leadership of the media conglomerate. It’s a stunning turn of events for the most powerful firm in the entertainment industry.
The decision to resign immediately was made by Bob Chapek, who succeeded Iger as CEO in 2020.
“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over the course of his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” Susan Arnold, the Chairman of the Board for Disney, said in a statement that was released late Sunday night. “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.”
As the current CEO of Disney, Iger has achieved a position that is almost mythological (DIS). He served as CEO for 15 years, during which time he was influential in the company’s acquisition of significant brands such as Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, the parent company of Star Wars. Iger also successfully finalized the agreement to acquire the majority of 21st Century Fox for $71 billion and was responsible for launching the streaming revolution at Disney (DIS) with the development of Disney (DIS)+ in November of 2019.
After nearly half a century with the company, he carried on as executive chairman and directed the creative initiatives of the business until the end of last year, when he formally parted ways with the organization.
Iger has agreed to serve as CEO of Disney for the next two years, according to a statement released by Disney on Sunday. The statement also stated that the board of directors has given Iger “a mandate to set the strategic direction for renewed growth and to work closely with the Board in developing a successor to lead the Company at the completion of his term.”
This decision is especially unexpected given that Chapek had only recently extended his contract. According to a statement released by the firm in June, the board of directors of the company agreed unanimously to extend Chapek’s contract as CEO for another three years. The new agreement with Chapek started in July and was scheduled to last through 2025
Iger made these comments in a statement that was released on Sunday. “I am extremely optimistic for the future of this great company and thrilled to be asked by the Board to return as its CEO. 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 continued by saying 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.”