What the return of Bob Iger means for Disney

Bob Iger is credited with expanding the Disney empire to all corners of the world. After becoming CEO in 2005, Iger oversaw Disney’s acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel Entertainment, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. Bob Chapek returns to Disney while his predecessor Bob Chapek has faced heavy criticism for his management style.

Less than a year after leaving Disney, Iger returned to the helm as Chapek struggled to fuel the company’s declining revenue, which worried investors. They hope to see a repeat of The Walt Disney success story, under Iger’s direction.

Bob Iger, CEO of Disney
Bog Iger returned to Disney after two years on Sunday, November 20, 2022. (Bob Iger; Image Credit – Thomas Hawk/Flickr)

Bob Iger is back, Bob Chapek is out

It’s no secret that Iger has been disappointed in Chapek’s style of work. In mid-July, reports surfaced that Bob Iger was unhappy with the way Chapek handled his departure, confiding to some trusted associates that letting him take the reins was one of Iger’s “worst business decisions.”

Before these reports made the news, CNBC reported that the two men had a falling out over Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation and rarely speak to each other. Eventually, the entertainment giant lost its special tax status in the state. Disney’s misadventures sparked speculation that Chapek could be replaced by Bob Iger in the near future.

However, in June, Chapek received a contract extension, complete with a $20 million bonus that put an end to the gossip. Bob Chapek took over as CEO of Disney in February 2020, just before Covid hit the global economy.

Disney shares are down about 41% this year and the stock is at a yearly low.

The change of leadership was communicated on Sunday by email. Some employees refused to believe the news thinking it is a joke.

“It is with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility, and, I must admit, a bit of amazement, that I write to you tonight with the news that I am returning to The Walt Disney Company as CEO,” Iger wrote. to employees in an email.

What does Iger’s return mean for Disney?

As Bob Iger returns, Disney’s board of directors hopes he will reverse the stock slide and boost investor confidence. Like Howard Schultz’s return to Starbucks, Iger’s appointment appears to be interim for now. Disney hired him for two years, during which he “will set the strategic direction for renewed growth and work closely with the Board to develop a successor to lead the Company at the end of his term.”

Bob Chapek initially planned layoffs, cost cuts and hiring freezes for this year after a dismal earnings report. Chapek guided Disney as the pandemic devastated the entertainment giant, forcing parks to close and preventing its multi-million dollar movies from opening in theaters. The video streaming business has also incurred losses, and Chapek says the segment will be profitable by 2024.

But as losses mounted, the Disney board, despite an initial show of confidence, decided to bring Iger on board. Susan Arnold, chair of the Disney board, stated that the company was grateful to Bob Chapek for his leadership, especially during the pandemic.

Bob Iger is well loved and respected within the walls of Disney. As the CEO who spearheaded multiple acquisitions each worth multi-billion dollar franchises, no one can question his business acumen. Although he has repeatedly said that he is not interested in returning, as Bob Iger returns to Disney, insiders are curious to see what changes he will bring.

Some analysts predict that the first change would be a rebound in the company’s shares. Industry veterans are also optimistic that Bob Iger’s return will improve the offering and quality of content.

“The board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely positioned to lead the company through this pivotal period,” said the board chair. , Susan Arnold, in a statement.

Bog Iger’s return is expected to boost Disney’s fortunes, as the former Disney CEO enjoys excellent relationships with both the board and employees, fostering confidence that he will put the company back on track.

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