Disney CEO Bob Iger made a huge confession during a very public forum on Thursday.
The Walt Disney Company held on to Bob Iger as long as possible on his first go around as the organization’s CEO. The veteran employee of Disney and ABC had made his plans for retirement very public in the years leading up to his exit in early 2020, but each time, he extended his tenure in an effort to continue to meet the needs at Disney. But the company quickly called him back from retirement in November 2022, after trends during then-CEO Bob Chapek’s tenure continually took turns for the worse.
Disney’s board “determined that [Bob] Chapek was no longer the right person to serve in the CEO role” in the months following their vote to renew his contract in June 2022, according to a proxy filing in January 2023. The board brought Bob Iger back into the role of CEO, and several Disney execs were removed shortly after Chapek left his post with the company.
Since his reinstallment as CEO of the Disney Company, Iger has been very much in the public eye, as he was during his first stint as CEO. Only days after returning to Disney, Iger held a town hall-style meeting with Cast Members, and during the first weekend of December, he visited the Disneyland Resort in December with his wife, Willow Bay, to enjoy the Candlelight Processional, stopping to shake hands with Guests and even posing for selfies with some.
During a conference held in San Francisco, California, on Thursday, Iger continued with his public approach to his role, participating in a 35-minute Q&A session as part of Morgan Stanley’s Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference, during which he spoke candidly about a variety of topics as they pertained to Disney and to the areas of technology and media. The conference, which largely focused on growing trends in the areas of technology and media, such as AI (artificial intelligence), welcomed guests to “learn about the trends reshaping the technology, media, and telecom landscape with new insights.”
Iger participated in a session that began shortly before 1:00 p.m. ET.
While answering a question during the session, Iger humbly confessed that Disney had been too zealous in some of its recent decisions, especially as they pertained to the company’s theme parks division.
“I’ve always believed that Disney was a brand that needed to be accessible,” Iger said. “In our zeal to grow profits, we may have been a little bit too aggressive about some of our pricing.”
Iger’s confession echoes the sentiments felt by many of the millions of Disney Parks Guests who feel that the price increases at places like the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort have become unreasonable. Some fans even feel that Disney is attempting to make their theme park resorts exclusive only to the wealthy. Iger seemed to address this sentiment as well, as he touched on the importance of the Disney brand remaining accessible to all.
“There’s a way to continue to grow that business,” Iger explained, “but be smarter about how we price so that we maintain that brand value of accessibility.”