Bob Iger has some regrets. Arguably one of the most successful CEOs in Walt Disney Company history, it’s hard to imagine he wishes he had done anything differently Everything he touched seemed to turn to gold. He went on a buying spree that would make the most ardent shopaholic head spin and not a single acquisition was a failure. Iger’s “first term” so to speak at Disney’s CEO was a massive success so what could he possibly regret? Arrogance.
In a recent interview Iger told CNBC that he became overconfident and dismissive. “I felt over time, because of all the experience I gained and the fact that it was a relatively successful run, that I got overconfident in my own instincts and my own decision-making,” he said. “I thought it caused me to be a little bit more dismissive of other people’s ideas.”
This may seem surprising given that Hollywood loves him in ways they never loved his predecessor Bob Chapek but Iger said it was one of the reasons he chose to walk away the first time. “Over time, I started listening less and maybe with a little less tolerance of other people’s opinions, maybe because of getting a little bit more overconfident in my own, which is sometimes what happens when you get built up,” Iger told CNBC.
As he resumes his role in the CEO position, he has the unique opportunity to address those shortcomings this time around. That seems to be his plan. His first move as CEO back in November was to vow to give more decision making capabilities back into the hands of creatives.
He told interviewers that he is returning with “greater self awareness” this time around. Even amid a massive layoff, he seems to be making good on his word. “I have a great team of people in place,” he said. “I extended some of their responsibilities yesterday. I’m an optimist at heart—I feel great about where the company is today and where I believe we’ll be able to take it.”
Currently Bob Iger is nearly five months into his surprising two-year return as CEO of The Walt Disney Company. In that time he has begun overhauling the company to allow for creatives to regain decision making powers stripped of them during Bob Chapek’s reign. He has also hosted several town halls and been communicative and open with fellow executives as well as Cast Members. Perhaps it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks after all!