After Disney fired CEO Bob Chapek and replaced him with his predecessor Bob Iger, everyone knew change was coming. In the days and weeks that followed, heads continued to roll at the Walt Disney Company. Things have slowed down but the Disney corporate shakeup is far from over. Today Disney rejected pressure to install activist investor Nelson Peltz as Chairman of the Board and instead tapped Nike Executive Chairman Mark Parker instead.
This news comes in the wake of current Disney Chair Susan Arnold’s announcement that she will be stepping down from the role. Arnold has held the position since Iger stepped away from the company in 2021 (in fact, she was the one who asked him to return). Disney has made it clear that she has not been fired, and that her departure is “consistent with Disney’s 15-year board term limit.”
In a statement following the announcement, Bob Iger said, “Mark Parker’s vision, incredible depth of experience and wise counsel have been invaluable to Disney, and I look forward to continuing working with him in his new role, along with our other directors, as we chart the future course for this amazing company.”
Iger also acknowledged Susan Arnold in his statement saying,“On behalf of my fellow Board members and the entire Disney management team, I also want to thank Susan for her superb leadership as Chairman and for her tireless work over the past 15 years as an exemplary steward of the Disney brand.”
Mark Parker has worked for Nike since 1979 In various roles including product research, design and development, marketing and brand management. This, like other recent announcements, is a hopeful step in the right direction for the Walt Disney Company. In recent years the Board of Executives lacked creatives leading to a stagnation that caused the company’s recent implosion.
In addition to his position as Chairman of the Board, he will also be tasked with a “succession planning” committee dedicated to advising the board on the status of CEO succession planning. This comes as a stipulation of Iger’s return as CEO for a two year period in order to find a suitable replacement.
The snubbing of Nelson Peltz is not surprising given his investment firm, Trian, openly opposed Bob Iger’s return as CEO. Nevertheless the firm invested an $800 million stake in Disney and immediately began campaigning for a seat on the board. Trian said they aimed to reduce costs and improve operations. It remains to be seen whether they will be successful at placing a member on the board but it won’t be as Chairman of the Board.