On December 31, Bob Iger will officially leave The Walt Disney Company — a company he has led to great success as CEO over the last 16 years. Iger became CEO of Disney in 2005 and announced that he would be leaving his position as CEO in 2020 and would take over the title of Executive Chairman, as well as retaining his title as Chairman of the Board — a position he has held since 2012.
While Bob Chapek took over as CEO, it was not announced that he would also become Chairman of the Board when Iger officially left. And we now know that Chapek will not become Chairman of the Board at all. Disney recently announced that Susan Arnold — who has been a Board member for 14 years — would be taking over Iger’s role as Chairperson.
In a press release, Iger expressed the confidence that he has in Arnold:
“Susan is an incredibly esteemed executive whose wealth of experience, unwavering integrity, and expert judgment have been invaluable to the company since she first joined the board in 2007. Having most recently served as independent lead director, Susan is the perfect choice for chairman of the board, and I am confident the company is well-positioned for continued success under her guidance and leadership.”
In addition to serving as a Board member with Disney, Arnold has also been an Executive at The Carlyle Group and Procter & Gamble. She was also a Board member at McDonald’s Corp.
After her election to Chairperson of the Board, Arnold also released a statement:
“On behalf of the board, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Bob Iger for his extraordinary leadership over the past decade-and-a-half. Bob has led Disney to amazing heights both creatively and financially, with his clear strategic vision for delivering high-quality branded storytelling, embracing cutting-edge technology, and expanding internationally, and he’s left an indelible mark on The Walt Disney company that will be felt for generations to come. As I step into this new role as chairman of the board, I look forward to continuing to serve the long-term interests of Disney’s shareholders and working closely with CEO Bob Chapek as he builds upon the company’s century-long legacy of creative excellence and innovation.”
Apart from Bob Iger, Susan Arnold has been the longest-serving member of the Board. Bob Chapek did not become a director on the Board until he became CEO in 2020 and the other nine Board members arrived between 2016 and 2021.
Disney’s announcement of Arnold’s position as Chairperson comes at the same time that the Company announced that Barbara Bouza would be taking over the role as President of Walt Disney Imagineering, as long-time Imagineer Bob Weis steps down.
What do you think of Susan Arnold becoming Chairman of the Board at Disney?