Bob was replaced by Bob but now Bob is back to replace Bob again. In a shocking turn of events late Sunday night, The Walt Disney Company announced that CEO Bob Chapek is stepping down and will be replaced by Bob Iger, the man who was running the company before Chapek took over.
“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” Susan Arnold, Chairman of the Board, said in a statement. “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 will return to Disney for two years, “with a mandate from the Board 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,” the statement continued.
Iger ran Disney from 2005 to 2020, leading the company to the type of multimedia dominance Hollywood and beyond hadn’t seen in decades. In that time he acquired Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Fox, as well as launched Disney+, among many, many other things. He was so beloved by Disney fans and investors alike, there was even talk he could run for President.
Chapek took over for Iger in 2020 and things almost immediately went downhill. In large part, that was due to the covid-19 pandemic all but shutting down every aspect of Disney’s operations. But even beyond that, he had some historic and memorable blunders. Under his watch Scarlett Johansson sued the company about his Black Widow earnings, Disney waited way too long to battle Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill, and just last month, he suggested adults don’t like animated films. This from the CEO of Disney.
Chapek has just never become someone fans like or trust with their beloved brand. Nevertheless, his ousting is a huge surprise as Iger was thought to be retired, at least from running Disney.
“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 added in his own statement. “I am 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.”
Many, many questions now linger for Disney and Disney fans. Will he prepare someone better to take over? And what, if anything, will Iger do to win back fans and investors alike? We’ll let you know when we do.
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