surprise return of Bob Iger at the head of the group

The former CEO of Disney (2005-2020) returns to his post. He returns for two years with the objective of establishing a strategy for “renewed growth” and preparing his succession.

Bob Iger is back. Disney’s board asked him to take over as CEO that he left to Bob Chapek in 2020, after fifteen years in this position, in order to restore momentum to the company. Bob Iger, 71, has agreed to return to head the Enchanted Kingdom for two years with the objective of establishing a strategy for “renewed growthDisney said in a statement. He will also aim to work with the board of directors to find a successor.

The board believed 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.“, justified the president of the board of directors, Susan Arnold, in the press release.

Champion of Disney’s family and polished image, Bob Iger led the company from 2005 to 2020 and remained executive chairman of the group’s board of directors until the end of 2021. He “has the deep respect of the Disney leadership team“said Susan Arnold.

No details on the departure of Chapek

The company, founded in 1923, did not detail the reasons for Bob Chapek’s departure, indicating only that he had left his position. A Disney veteran, he took office in early 2020, just at the start of the pandemic. He then had to manage the closing, then the reopening, of amusement parks, but also the expansion of streaming.

The results of this activity, which faces fierce competition between Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or HBO Max, have recently come out mixed. Disney+ again gained many subscribers in the third quarter and had more than 164 million at the end of September. The Californian group’s video-on-demand platforms (Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu) however recorded an operating loss of nearly $1.5 billion.

If its branchamusement parks, experiences and derived products“, released over the period of record sales, the total turnover of the company had disappointed the market. The action of Disney lost more than 13% the day after the announcement of these results, at the beginning of November. It is down more than 40% compared to the start of the year.

Disney’s Loss of Florida Privileges

Bob Chapek’s mandate was also marked by a complicated episode in Florida, where the company had, at the start of the year, initially decided not to come out against a law prohibiting the teaching of subjects related to sexual orientation or gender identity at primary school. Pushed by employees, Bob Chapek, finally openly criticized the text, arousing the ire of conservative Governor Ron DeSantis and leading to the removal of a favorable administrative status enjoyed by the Disney World theme park since the 1960s in that state.

Under the leadership of Bob Iger, Disney had become an entertainment empire, between the acquisitions of the animation studio Pixar in 2006 (The world of Nemo, Toy Story), from Marvel in 2009 (X-Men, Spiderman and the whole series of avengers), from Lucasfilm in 2012 (Star Wars, IndianaJones) or most of the assets of the former 21st Century Fox group in 2019. The launch of Disney+ was one of its last feats of arms. Under his tenure, Disney’s market capitalization had quintupled. “I am very optimistic about the future of this great company and delighted that the board has asked me to return as managing director.“commented Bob Iger in the press release.

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