In a move that was expected — but not necessarily popular — The Walt Disney Company’s Board of Directors has voted unanimously to extend Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s contract by 3 years. We had reported earlier that the Board was planning on extending Chapek’s contract at either their meeting this month or at their meeting in September, and we are now learning they chose to jump on it now. Chapek’s contract was set to expire in February 2023, but will now expire in 2026.
The vote was reported by Business Wire, which also shared a statement from Susan Arnold — the chairman of the Board. According to Business Wire:
Today, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) Board of Directors unanimously voted to extend Bob Chapek’s contract as Chief Executive Officer for three years.
“Disney was dealt a tough hand by the pandemic, yet with Bob at the helm, our businesses—from parks to streaming—not only weathered the storm, but emerged in a position of strength,” said Susan Arnold, Chairman of the Board. “In this important time of growth and transformation, the Board is committed to keeping Disney on the successful path it is on today, and Bob’s leadership is key to achieving that goal. Bob is the right leader at the right time for The Walt Disney Company, and the Board has full confidence in him and his leadership team.”
Bob Chapek also shared a statement after his contract was renewed, saying:
“Leading this great company is the honor of a lifetime, and I am grateful to the Board for their support,” said Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer. “I started at Disney almost 30 years ago, and today have the privilege of leading one of the world’s greatest, most dynamic companies, bringing joy to millions around the world. I am thrilled to work alongside the incredible storytellers, employees, and Cast Members who make magic every day.”
The move to renew Chapek’s contract may come as an unpopular one. Chapek has struggled to be seen in a positive light since he became CEO in 2020 — just one month before the theme parks were forced to shut down because of the pandemic. Chapek has made a number of controversial moves, including consistently raising prices, while many think he is cutting food portions and cleanliness standards. He also allowed the company to engage in a public spat with Marvel star Scarlett Johansson when she sued Disney for breach of contract.
Recently, Chapek spoke out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill — which angered those who supported the bill. Others remained upset with Chapek because they felt he didn’t speak up soon enough — going so far as to call the issue “irrelevant” to the company. And then, in a move that shook Hollywood, Chapek fired Executive Peter Rice — who many saw as a threat to his position as CEO.
Couple all of those things with the fact that Disney stock has gone dropped more than 40%, and you had a lot of people hoping that the Chapek years were coming to an end. Abigail Disney has spoken out against Chapek numerous times and has said that she wants to join with other shareholders to reduce Chapek’s paycheck, but with this contract renewal, it looks like that fight may be over.
Are you excited to hear that the Board has renewed Bob Chapek’s contract?