And it’s bon voyage to Bob Iger – the Disney chief, considered by many to be one of Hollywood’s most powerful men, has stepped down from the House of Mouse.
The surprise exit was confirmed in a statement, with Iger saying now was the “optimal time” to pass on the company to a new set of hands. Disney has appointed Bob Chapek, who was previously in charge of the company’s parks and products division, as Iger’s successor.
“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,” Iger said.
Iger, now 69, served as chief executive from 2005, overseeing the launch of streaming service Disney+ (available to UK viewers on 24th March 2020) and securing the Fox-Disney merger deal in 2019.
Disney bought the Fox studios in a $71bn deal last March, a merger that meant Fox superheroes, such as the X-Men, could join the Marvel Cinematic Universe (also owned by Disney) in the future.
Iger has now assumed the role of “executive chairman” and will direct the company’s “creative endeavours” for the time being. He will then leave Disney for good once his contract is up in 2021.
Bob Chapek, a Disney employee since 1993, will be the seventh CEO of Disney since the 1920s.
“The Board has been actively engaged in succession planning for the past several years, and after consideration of internal and external candidates, we unanimously elected Bob Chapek as the next CEO of The Walt Disney Company,” said Susan Arnold, independent Lead Director of the Disney Board.
“[He] has shown outstanding leadership and a proven ability to deliver strong results across a wide array of businesses, and his tremendous understanding of the breadth and depth of the Company and appreciation for the special connection between Disney and its consumers makes him the perfect choice as the next CEO.”