"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," Bob Iger said in statement, announcing his plans to step down as Disney's CEO.
Disney released the announcement Tuesday (Feb 25), taking many in the entertainment and travel industries by surprise.
Bob Chapek is the new CEO, the board of directors announced on Tuesday. Chapekrecently served as chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.
“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 in a statement.
“Bob will be the seventh CEO in Disney’s nearly 100-year history, and he has proven himself exceptionally qualified to lead the Company into its next century. Throughout his career, Bob has led with integrity and conviction, always respecting Disney’s rich legacy while at the same time taking smart, innovative risks for the future. His success over the past 27 years reflects his visionary leadership and the strong business growth and stellar results he has consistently achieved in his roles at Parks, Consumer Products and the Studio. Under Bob’s leadership as CEO, our portfolio of great businesses and our amazing and talented people will continue to serve the Company and its shareholders well for years to come.”
In a release, Susan Arnold, independent lead director of the Disney Board, said: “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."
She added: "Mr. Chapek 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."
During Iger's tenure, he oversaw the acquisition of Marvel Studios, Pixar, and Lucasfilm, all of which produced popular films that broke box office records. Twenty-First Century Fox also joined the Disney family under Iger's watch.
In 2019, Iger unveiled Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland and at Walt Disney World to rave reviews.
Among Iger's final contributions as CEO was the launch of Disney+, a streaming service with exclusive programs to compete with Netflix.
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