Today the world of business and entertainment got a major shakeup, with the announcement that Disney CEO Bob Iger is stepping down in 2021. Iger will be replaced by Bob Chapek, who has served as President of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, as well as President of Distribution, and Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products. However, the reveal that Iger is vacating the Disney CEO chair has raised one main question: what will Bob Iger do next? It's been revealed that Iger will continue at Disney as Executive Chairman after 2021, and in a call with analysts, he explained what his intention is for that new position:
"The company has gotten larger and more complex in the recent 12 months," Iger explained on the call. "With the asset based in place, and our strategy essentially deployed, I felt that I should spend as much time as possible with the creative side as our businesses... because that becomes our biggest priority in 2021."
That somewhat ominous portent for Disney's future is not off the mark. A lot of the big franchises that studio has established in recent years (Marvel, Star Wars) are now on a serious downturn. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has to rebuild its clout after the big finale of Avengers: Endgame, while Star Wars has to build out an entire new universe in a new time period, as revealed in the announcement of the Star Wars: High Republic rollout in forthcoming novels and comics. Neither franchise has a guaranteed hit character or brand that will generate the sort of profits Disney enjoyed in 2019, when Endgame, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Captain Marvel, The Lion King and Aladdin all earned over a billion dollars.
Iger was responsible for taking Disney's market value from $55 billion in 2005 when he took over, to high marks of $260 billion and $231 billion as of January and February of this year. If anyone knows what the right creative moves are for the company, he's pretty much proven in the last fifteen years that he is that guy. The executive chairman position will let him indulge in the fun of establishing and molding lucrative IPs, without the hassle of having to navigate and oversee all the minute details of the business side. It could be the difference between Disney expanding its market dominance in the 2020s, instead of sliding back from the progress Iger made.