Bob Iger is back as Disney’s CEO

Only a few months after renewing Bob Chapek's contract for the role, Disney's board has replaced him with former leader Robert Iger, who retired from the company a year ago.
November 21, 2022

In a surprise leadership shift, The Walt Disney Company has brought Robert Iger back to serve as its CEO for the next two years.

Iger has already spent more than 40 years working at the House of Mouse, including 15 years as CEO (2005 to 2020). He’s coming back not even a full year after retiring from the media empire, and he will work with the board to put a successor in place before his term ends.

Disney’s board has tasked Iger with driving growth, a mission he’s no stranger to. He was instrumental in transforming the business throughout his previous tenure, overseeing the acquisition of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. Iger also steered the company’s move into streaming with the launch of Disney+, and directed content strategy until he officially left at the end of 2021.

Iger succeeds Bob Chapek, who has stepped down as CEO after two years at the helm. His departure is a surprise, partly because Disney’s board just renewed his contract for three more years in June. Chapek previously served as chairman of Disney’s parks, experiences and products division before taking the CEO reins and guiding the company through a tumultuous pandemic period that saw its parks close for long periods of time. In 2021, annual revenue increased by just 3% to US$67.4 billion.

Earlier this month, Chapek unveiled a cost-cutting plan to trim budgets, cut staff and freeze hiring as part of a strategy to achieve Disney+ profitability by 2024.

“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 board chair Susan Arnold in a release. “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.”

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