Disney has brought former CEO Bob Iger back to his post, replacing Bob Chapek after less than three years in the role, but the Company did not reinstate Iger as Chairman of the Board.
On Sunday evening, The Walt Disney Company announced the departure of Bob Chapek and the simultaneous return of former CEO and Chairman Bob Iger, effective immediately. But Disney only installed Iger as CEO of the company, not as the Chairman of the Board.
In an announcement on the company’s website Sunday evening, The Walt Disney Company said Iger has been brought on board, agreeing to serve for two years “with a mandate from the Board to set the strategic direction for renewed growth and to work closely with the Board in developing a successor to lead the Company at the completion of his term.”
In short, one of Iger’s chief tasks will be grooming his replacement. Ultimately, it looks as though Disney just bought two years during which the Company can find its long-term replacement for Bob Chapek. After all, Iger needs no training and can, as the saying goes, “hit the ground running.”
The Walt Disney Company’s announcement on Sunday also reads:
The Walt Disney Company announced today that Robert A. Iger is returning to lead Disney as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Iger, who spent more than four decades at the Company, including 15 years as its CEO, has agreed to serve as Disney’s CEO for two years . . .
“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” said Susan Arnold, Chairman of the Board. “The Board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the Company through this pivotal period.”
“Iger has the deep respect of Disney’s senior leadership team, most of whom he worked closely with until his departure as executive chairman 11 months ago, and he is greatly admired by Disney employees worldwide—all of which will allow for a seamless transition of leadership,” Arnold said.
In the announcement on the Company website, Disney noted that “the position of Chairman of the Board remains unchanged, with [Susan] Arnold serving in that capacity.”
In response to Disney asking him to return to serve as CEO, Bob Iger said he is “extremely optimistic.”
“I am thrilled to be asked by the Board to return as its CEO,” Iger said. “Disney and its incomparable brands and franchises hold a special place in the hearts of so many people around the globe—most 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 again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling.”
While some are thrilled about Iger’s reinstatement, others who admire Iger think it odd that Disney trusts only one person to run the Company during this time.
Bob Iger is an incredible CEO but the fact there is literally one person in the world the board thinks is capable of running Disney is a head scratcher and a failure of some sort of internal system there over the past decade.
— Jessica Lessin (@Jessicalessin) November 21, 2022
It remains to be seen whether additional changes are coming for other Disney C-suite execs in the wake of this surprise announcement regarding Bob Chapek’s departure.