The Walt Disney Company has tapped its former CEO Bob Iger to return to head the company for two years, firing his successor Bob Chapek in a move that stunned the entertainment industry.
Chapek is leaving after the company posted lower than expected earnings in the last quarter. Hollywood’s creative community had grumbled about Chapek’s cost-cutting measures and sometimes blunt approach to talent, while theme park regulars had been unhappy with price hikes.
So, it’s back to Iger.
“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,” Susan Arnold, Disney’s chair, said in a statement.
Arnold thanked Chapek for leading the company through the pandemic, while enthusing over Iger’s stature within the company, which he led for 15 years before his departure as CEO in early 2020.
Iger has the “deep respect of Disney’s senior leadership team,” she said. She added that he was “greatly admired by Disney employees worldwide.”
“The company’s robust pipeline of content is a testament to his leadership and vision,” the company’s statement said.
Iger said in the statement that he was “thrilled” to return and “extremely optimistic” about Disney’s future.
“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,” said Iger, who is 71.
He replaced Michael Eisner as CEO in 2005 and the former TV weather man won over Wall Street and Hollywood with bold acquisitions and public displays of respect for the creative community and the company’s storied history.
During his 15 years at the helm, Disney absorbed Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel and Fox’s entertainment businesses, then launched its Disney+ streaming service.
After Chapek became CEO in 2020, Iger remained as chairman through 2021.
Chapek is stepping down in what has been a tough year for Disney. He faced blowback earlier this year for not using the company’s vast influence in Florida to help quash a Republican bill that would prevent teachers from instructing early grades on LGBTQ issues. The bill sparked a spat between Disney and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
He also was criticized for his handling of Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit last year over her pay for “Black Widow,” an unusually public conflict between the studio and a top Hollywood star. The 2021 Marvel film was released simultaneously in theaters and through Disney+ for a $30 rental.
There are reports of plans for major layoffs as the company maneuvers to improve its profitability.
Currently, Disney+ now is ad-free, but in December it will launch a new tiered service in December for U.S. subscribers. The basic Disney+ service that costs $7.99 per month will run ads. A subscriber who wants no ads will have to upgrade to a premium service that starts at $10.99 per month, a 38% increase over current prices.
Disney said it ended its fiscal year with more than 235 million subscribers to its streaming services. That was above analysts’ expectations of 231.5 million.
Disney’s share price is at about the level it was at when Iger stepped down as CEO in early 2020, closing at $91.80 pm Friday. That’s about half its peak of just over $200 a share in March 2021.
November 21, 2022 at 8:35 am
“. . . for not using the company’s vast influence in Florida to help quash a Republican bill that would prevent teachers from instructing early grades on LGBTQ issues.”
I love how the lefty AP spins things, as above. The truth of the matter is Disney tried to do something about that bill and failed, and the blasting that the Democrats took earlier this month had mostly to do with the fact that Florida likes DeSantis’ bill, regardless of what the AP and the “entertainment industry” think about it.
DeSantis won, Disney lost and Chapek is out. Simple as that.
November 21, 2022 at 11:09 am
Ridiculous! Disney exercised it’s freedom of speech rights, which DeSanctimonious has banned, along with ACTUAL parents’ rights.
The only Floridians who support Ron’s extreme laws are the 50-64 age group, most of whom are not even parents of school children!
November 21, 2022 at 9:06 am
OK Florida Government and Conservatives world wide:
This is the best Disney is able to do in the form of an apology for whizzing all of you off with their support of all things of a sexual nature which are abominations in all religious teachings world wide.
Also included are all of Disney’s past transgressions in regards to your precious childern:
The grooming for your kiddies (and parents) to accept all things related to pedophilia.
The groming of your kiddies (and parents) for your kiddies to transform into the opposite sex without parental knowledge.
So Florida Government and parents world wide breath a sigh of relief. It’s so over and all forgiven now. Disney orders you all to fall in line with this cleansing re-boot.
Govorner DeSantis you are hereby ordered to abandon and forget all legislative punishment against Disney.
Conservatives you are hereby ordered to stop booking your vacations to any and all non-Disney theme parks and proceed immediatly to the nearest Disney Park with your money and kids. And for God’s sake re-start your Disney Channel services.
Hey we re-appointed our old ex-CEO that is enough already. Stop hateing Disney already.
November 21, 2022 at 9:22 am
We’ve written the Disney Parks off the list, but not for political reasons. It’s just not fun anymore, the wait times are ridiculous, and the ‘cast members’ no longer seem to be trained or vetted to the levels they once were. It used to be uncommon to encounter the ‘I could not care less that you are here’ attitude, but things have changed.
November 21, 2022 at 12:03 pm
DeSantis should stop using Mickey to distract Freedumbies from REAL crimes against children in Florida like: “DeSantis has declined to issue fines after over 14,000 violations of a sex trafficking law by Florida hotels and lodging establishments.
The investigation published on Sunday by the Sun Sentinel found that 6,669 hotels and other lodging establishments had received 14,279 citations since a 2019 sex trafficking law required them to make modest changes to protect victims. In one case,The Plaza Hotel was cited five times after a 17-year-old girl was choked because she would not turn over all her earnings to her sex trafficker”. Ron refused to impose fines on any of these child trafficking enablers.
November 21, 2022 at 12:37 pm
Go woke, go broke!
We are not going to let elitist far-left corporate executives in California tell us how we are to raise our children! We just had an election. DeSantis won by 20 points. Republicans have a super majority in the legislature. Parents kicked woke liberals off the school boards. The voters have spoken. Will you Democrats respect democracy? Or will you still keep trying to force this woke nonsense down our kid’s throats?
Leave the kids alone!
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