Bob Chapek named Disney CEO, as Bob Iger steps down

  • Disney named Bob Chapek its new CEO on Tuesday, effective immediately.
  • Chapek — who was previously chairman of Disney parks, experiences, and products — succeeds Bob Iger, who will remain with the company as executive chairman through 2021, when his contract expires.
  • “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 in a statement.
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Bob Chapek is the new CEO of Disney, effective immediately, the company announced Tuesday.

Chapek, who formerly was the company’s parks, experiences, and products chairman, succeeds Bob Iger.

The stock was down 2.5% in after hours trading in the aftermath of the announcement.

Iger, 69, will remain with the company as executive chairman to guide the transition process and the company’s “creative endeavors” through the end of his contract on December 31, 2021. Iger had been CEO since 2005, when he succeeded Michael Eisner. Iger had renewed his contract in 2017.

“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 in a statement. “I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney’s multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the Company’s creative endeavors.”

Iger said during an investor call on Tuesday that the announcement was no accelerated and that Chapek was identified “quite some time ago as likely successor.” Iger said that he wanted to be freed up to focus on the creative side of the business — what he called his first priority — now that a strategy is in place for direct-to-consumer and the Fox merger.

In Iger’s 15 years as CEO, he led the company through several major acquisitions including Pixar in 2006, Marvel in 2009, Lucasfilm in 2012, and Fox’s film studio and many of its television assets last year for $71.3 billion. He also led the company through the launch of its streaming platform, Disney Plus, in November.

Chapek has been with the company for 27 years. He was named chairman of Disney parks and resorts in 2015 and then chairman of parks, experiences, and products in 2018 when the division was created. Prior to those roles, he was head of Disney’s consumer products and before that, he was president of distribution for the Walt Disney Studios.

In his role as chairman of parks, experiences, and products, Chapek oversaw the opening of Disney’s first park in mainland China, Shanghai Disney Resort (which is currently closed due to coronavirus concerns), and the opening of the “Star Wars” attraction “Galaxy’s Edge” and Disneyland and Walt Disney World. 

This is a developing story …

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