Bob Iger resigns as CEO, Bob Chapek steps down as board member cites “complex industry transformation” for shocking C-suite restructuring

Bob Iger resigns as CEO, Bob Chapek steps down as board member cites “complex industry transformation” for shocking C-suite restructuring

Bob Iger has replaced Bob Chapek as Disney’s CEO, a shocking turn of events for the world’s largest media company, which has been in turmoil since Iger stepped down as CEO in February 2020.

The shock, which caught most of the entertainment industry and Wall Street by surprise, was confirmed by Disney’s board of directors late Sunday. There had been rumors of a C-suite reorganization, but the prospect of Iger returning to the CEO job still seemed far-fetched. The turnaround is reminiscent of a situation at Apple a generation ago, when Steve Jobs returned to the company he helped found after 12 years in the wilderness. Iger was out of office as CEO for almost three years.

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“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney throughout his long career, including leading the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” said Susan Arnold, Disney CEO. “The board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is in a unique position to lead the company through this pivotal phase.”

Chapek’s fall follows a third-quarter earnings report that spooked Wall Street as spending on content and marketing for Disney’s direct-to-consumer platforms hit its forecast peak of $1.5 billion in fiscal 2022. Though Disney Wall had previously suffered losses of this magnitude, and even as Disney+ reported subscriber growth for the quarter, the flow of red ink was still taking a toll on Disney’s stock price. Shares fell well below the $100 mark to $90 on Nov. 9, the day after Disney’s after-market earnings report.

Iger’s clandestine return to the top adds a dramatic ending to the soap opera that has captivated Hollywood for the past several years. Given his storied 15-year career, which has transformed Disney through acquisitions and great ambition, Iger would invariably cast a shadow over his successor. But in this case there was a scuffle between Iger and Chapek almost from day one.

“I am extremely optimistic about the future of this great company and I am delighted to be asked by the board to return as CEO,” Iger said in a statement. “Disney and its incomparable brands and franchises hold a special place in the hearts of so many people around the world – especially in the hearts of our employees, whose dedication to this company and its mission is an inspiration. I am deeply honored to be asked to once again lead this remarkable team with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling.”

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