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Disney Fans Believe They Spot Former CEO Bob Chapek in Viral Video

Bob Chapek
Credit: Disney

In a stunning turn of events reminiscent of a Hollywood plot twist, the Walt Disney Company’s board ousted Bob Chapek as CEO in 2022, reinstating Robert A. Iger to lead the company with immediate effect.

Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek and Current Disney CEO Bob Iger in front of a blue background saying The Walt Disney Company

Credit: Disney

Today, we receive surprising news about Chapek’s current endeavors.

Effectively, Disney replaced Iger’s chosen successor, Chapek, as CEO with Iger himself. In an email to Disney employees on a Sunday night, Iger expressed gratitude, humility, and some amazement at his return.

At 71, Iger agreed to a two-year contract extension after the board concluded that Chapek, aged 62, had significantly impaired his leadership capabilities through a series of blunders, resulting in the loss of confidence from Wall Street, senior Disney executives, and many employees. This contract extension now spans until 2026.

Iger had previously led Disney as CEO from 2005 to 2020, a tenure widely regarded as one of Hollywood’s most successful, marked by initiatives like the launch of Disney+ and the acquisitions of Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar.

Leaving Disney entirely at the end of 2021, Iger had served as executive chairman for two years to assist Chapek’s transition into the role. However, the handover did not unfold smoothly. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic led Chapek to close much of the company’s operations. Subsequently, he faced a series of crises, some of which were of his own making.

Bob Iger (L) and Bob Chapek (R) at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Credit: Disney

In March 2022, Disney became embroiled in a contentious dispute with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over legislation aimed at restricting discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms up to the third grade. Initially hesitant to take a public stance, Chapek’s eventual denouncement of the bill sparked internal dissent among employees and ignited a political uproar, drawing criticism from conservative circles labeling Disney as “woke.”

In June, Chapek’s sudden dismissal of Disney’s top television executive was met with widespread disapproval from the entertainment industry. In August, activist investor Dan Loeb urged Chapek to consider various changes, including board shake-ups and spinning off ESPN.

Meanwhile, some of Disney’s most loyal theme park patrons grew increasingly frustrated with perceived nickel-and-dining tactics, particularly through price hikes. Disney’s disclosure to investors that theme park profits would have been higher were it not for an “unfavorable attendance mix” at Disney World further fueled dissatisfaction, leading to the creation of merchandise bearing the term “unfavorable” in Disney’s iconic style.

Former CEO Bob Chapek

Credit: Disney

So what has Mr. Chapek been up to since he left Disney?

While recently it was confirmed that the executive is joining the board of directors of Masimo, the medical device company currently embroiled in a dispute with Apple over certain features of the tech giant’s Apple Watch, he is also pursuing a musical career.

Industry Analyst & Professor of Theme Parks, Entertainment, & Attractions Bill Zanetti shared a video of what appears to be Bob Chapek performing while playing the saxophone at an undisclosed location.

Bob Chapek, is that you? I didn’t know you played the sax! Is this what former CEOs of Disney do? I have so many questions.

Most of the commenters online believe that this is the ex-CEO of The Walt Disney Company, which seems plausible from this video. However, there is no certain confirmation that this would be him, nor is there any confirmation online that he can play the saxophone.

Bob Iger recently spoke out against Chapek’s tenure at Disney, “I was disappointed in what I was seeing in the transition period and while I was out,” he said, per the Times. “I worked hard at distancing myself from it.”

He said Disney’s current CEO succession planning process “is robust right now” and added that he will “definitely” exit as chief executive when his recently extended contract is up at the end of 2026.

Since returning to Disney, Iger said he has been “fixing a lot of problems that the company has had, and dealing with a lot of challenges.” Some of those “were brought on by decisions that were made by my predecessor,” he said, while others “are just basically the result of a tremendous amount of disruption in the world and in our business.”

chapek-in-front-of-storm-troopers

Credit: Disney

Subsequently, the ousted Disney CEO Bob Chapek ended his silence with his initial public remarks since his dismissal in 2022 — criticizing his successor, Bob Iger, for seeking a strategic partner for ESPN.

Chapek expressed to CNBC that he perceives no justification for the Disney-owned sports network to incorporate any minority stakeholders.

“Strategically, I don’t really see a benefit in bringing on yet another minority partner into ESPN,” Chapek said as part of the CNBC documentary “ESPN’s Fight for Dominance,” which chronicles the network’s digital strategy.

He continued: “The brand is so central. It is so powerful. It is so beloved by so many sports fans. At the same time, though, I do believe we have to recognize that the transition from a cable universe over to a streaming world is going to be one that’s gonna probably be fraught with challenges.”

Were you a fan of Bob Chapek as the CEO of Disney? Who would you like to see take over? 

This post originally appeared on Inside the Magic

About Alessia Dunn

Orlando theme park lover who loves thrills and theming, with a side of entertainment. You can often catch me at Disney or Universal sipping a cocktail, or crying during Happily Ever After or Fantasmic.

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