Bob Iger is back.
Disney Iger was reappointed as CEO effective immediately on Sunday night after former CEO Bob Chapek came under fire for his leadership of the entertainment giant. Chapek was named chief executive in February 2020, succeeding Iger, who previously said he would not return to the role.
Disney shares are down about 41% this year through Friday’s close. The stock hit a 52-week low on Nov. 9.
Iger has committed to serving as CEO for two years, Disney said Sunday, “with the board’s mandate to set the strategic direction for continued growth and to work closely with the board to develop a successor to lead the company upon completion.” shall lead his term of office.”
The company said Chapek resigned. “We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney throughout his long career, including leading the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” said Susan Arnold, Disney CEO. She will remain in this role.
The dramatic upheaval comes 11 months after Iger left the company, and days after Chapek said he plans to cut costs at the company, which has been weighed down by the rising costs of its Disney+ streaming service. The company’s earnings release earlier this month fell well short of Wall Street’s expectations. Even the amusement park business, which saw sales jump, fell short of analysts’ forecasts.
Chapek, whose contract as CEO was renewed earlier this year, planned a hiring freeze, cost cuts and layoffs across the company, according to a memo obtained by CNBC earlier this month. The internal memo came days after the company’s poor earnings report.
Iger, who held the CEO role at Disney for 15 years, had favored Chapek as his successor. The two eventually had a falling out, and the shadow of their conflict cast a shadow over the company’s future.
Iger is a widely respected and loved character at Disney. He oversaw deals to acquire Pixar, Lucasfilm and its “Star Wars” properties, and Marvel – all of which have become multi-billion dollar intellectual property giants.
Meanwhile, Chapek angered employees with his initial silence about the “Don’t Say Gay” law in Florida, where the company’s Walt Disney World Resort is located. Then he received backlash from Republican politicians like the governor of Florida. Ron DeSantis, for the resistance. He also received heat for his handling of the controversy surrounding Scarlett Johansson’s payment for her work in the Marvel film Black Widow.
Read the full Disney release here:
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) today announced that Robert A. Iger is returning to the helm of Disney as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mister. Iger, who has been with the company for more than four decades, including 15 years as CEO, has agreed to serve as Disney’s CEO for two years, with the board’s mandate to set the strategic direction for renewed growth and to work closely with the company Company to work with the Board in developing a successor to lead the Company after his term in office. Mister. Iger succeeds Bob Chapek, who has resigned from his position.
“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney throughout his long career, including leading the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” said Susan Arnold, CEO. “The board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is in a unique position to lead the company through this pivotal phase.”
“Mr. Iger has the deep respect of Disney’s senior leadership team, with most of whom he worked closely until his retirement as Executive Chairman 11 months ago, and is greatly admired by Disney employees worldwide – all of which will make for a seamless transition enable leadership changes,” she said.
The position of CEO remains unchanged, Dr. Arnold served in that capacity.
“I am extremely optimistic about the future of this great company and I am delighted to be asked by the board to return as CEO,” said Mr. Sagte Iger. “Disney and its incomparable brands and franchises hold a special place in the hearts of so many people around the world – especially in the hearts of our employees, whose dedication to this company and its mission is an inspiration. I am deeply honored to be asked to once again lead this remarkable team with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling.
“During his 15-year tenure as CEO from 2005 to 2020, Mr. Iger helped build Disney into one of the most successful and most admired media and entertainment companies in the world, with a strategic vision centered on creative excellence, technological innovation and… international growth. He continued to build on Disney’s legacy of unprecedented storytelling with acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox, and quintupled the company’s market cap during his tenure as CEO. Mr. Iger continued to lead Disney’s creative endeavors until his departure as Executive Chairman last December. The company’s robust content pipeline is a testament to his leadership and vision.”