Bob Iger has made some bold moves since coming back to The Walt Disney Company but today may have just been one of his boldest. The two-time CEO has been under fire recently for comments made about the recent writers and actors strikes saying that they are “disturbing” to him and that the Union demands are “unreasonable.” He has also faced scrutiny for hinting that parts of the company may be sold off, which has reignited rumors that he may be planning to sell The Walt Disney Company.
Now he has brought in two former Disney executives who lend even more credibility to the rumors of a Disney fire-sale. Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs were once considered top contenders for the CEO position at Disney. Mayer was Chairman of Disney’s Direct to Consumer branch, and Tom Staggs was the Chief Financial Officer when Iger tapped Bob Chapek to fill the role as CEO. Both left in 2016 when they discovered they weren’t getting the job.
Some have speculated that this could be a sign that they are competing to be named Bob Iger’s successor. It makes sense, they were both considered front runners for the position the first time Iger had to make a choice. Both of them have extensive experience both with Disney and within the CEO position at various companies. Mayer went on to become CEO of TikTok and helped the social media app skyrocket itself into a household name. Staggs is currently co- CEO of Candle Media along with Mayer. However, the positions they were tasks they were brought back to perform suggests a different intent.
Both Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs will step into advisory roles for Disney while it defines its strategy with its TV subsidiaries like ABC and ESPN. Not long ago Iger said that the company is considering selling assets like ABC, FX, Fredform, and potentially ESPN. It’s likely, especially given the sole focus of Candle Media is to buy up media assets, that they were brought back to find a strategy to sell. Iger has always been “Bob the Builder,” “Bob the Destroyer” is new territory and a role he likely needs assistance to fulfill.
Time will tell whether Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs are competing in some sort of “who will be next to wear the crown” game or whether their primary objective is to dismantle The Walt Disney Company piece by piece. Despite numerous box office disappointments and falling Park revenue, Disney is still a titan in the entertainment industry. The idea that Iger could be on a mission to break it apart still seems a bit far-fetched, though admittedly, less far-fetched than it did just two years ago.