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Disney’s Bob Iger steps down as CEO

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Bob Iger, arguably one of the most important executives at Disney has decided to step down as CEO. His decade and a half tenure at the media conglomerate has been well respected and he is perhaps the most important man at the company next only to Walt himself. 

Replacing him will be Bob Chapek who served as chairman at Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Bob Iger has now assumed the role of executive chairman and will stay on at the company till his contract runs out on December 31, 2021. Iger will overlook the company’s creative endeavours until his contract expires. 

In a prepared statement to the press, Iger said, “With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO.”  

The end of Bob Iger’s reign at Disney has managed to catch almost everyone by surprise, even the company’s employees. Speaking to CNN Business, some employees were totally blindsided by the announcement, saying they were “in shock” at Iger’s sudden departure. 

Why exactly is Bob Iger one of the most respected CEO’s in the business? 

  • Iger was responsible for the acquisition of Marvel Studios, Pixar, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. 
  • He was instrumental in spearheading Disney+, a rival streaming competitor to the likes of Netflix. 
  • It’s pure speculation at this point but as per insidethemagic.net, this move could be foreshadowing Iger’s Presidential Run, he even considered running for President once before but he changed his mind. 
  • In an interview with Financial Times, Iger defended Disney’s choice of putting Chapek at the helm, after many likened the move to replacing Steve Jobs with Tim Cook.  “No one knows the Disney brand better than Bob [Chapek]. That is a prerequisite to being able to run this company well,” he said. “It’s less important that he knows the specifics of one business, and more important that he appreciates how all of these businesses fit into one company.”
  • He also spoke about the seemingly random nature of the announcement saying, “We’ve been working on this for a while. There’s no magic to the date, other than I felt the sooner we do this, the quicker it gives Bob the chance to run the company and for me to shift my priorities.”
  • Iger confirmed that he will leave the company for good once his contract is up. “I’ve been with the company for 45 years,” he said speaking with CNN Business, “and was in the CEO job for 15 of those years, It’s been a fun run.”
  • Iger served as President and COO for Disney till 2000 and later took over as CEO, inheriting the role from Micheal Eisner in 2005. 
  • Before his time at Disney, Iger was President at ABC Television. 
  • He was instrumental in reinvigorating Disney’s animation studio with his branded release strategy. 
  • Under Iger, Disney has seen massive growth increasing its revenue from $48.4 billion to $257 billion over 13 years. 
  • The $4 billion that Disney paid for Marvel Entertainment has already been recouped through Marvel’s movie division. He was also responsible for making Steve Jobs the majority stakeholder in Disney, following the Pixar acquisition. 
  • The original contract Iger was bound to, was to expire in 2018 but Disney extended it to 2019 and then to 2021. 
  • His book “The Ride of a Lifetime” details his struggles to open the Disneyland Park in Shanghai, a trip which saw him travelling to China 40 times over 18 years to complete the project.  
  • Iger helped smooth over a lot of rough bumps with Apple, including overseeing the Pixar acquisition after previous CEO Micheal Eisner had actively tried to derail the deal.

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