Disney's Bob Iger has said for some time that when his current contract with the company expired he would be stepping down, but since then it's been unclear who would be his successor in the role of CEO...until now. In a very surprising and sudden move, The Walt Disney Company has announced that Bob Chapek, former chairman of Disney parks, experiences and products will take on the role of CEO effective immediately. Iger will remain on with the company as the Executive Chairman and will direct the Company's creative endeavors until the end of his contract on December 31, 2021.
"With the successful launch of Disney's direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO," Iger said in a statement. "I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney's multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the Company's creative endeavors."
Iger added: "Bob will be the seventh CEO in Disney's nearly 100-year history, and he has proven himself exceptionally qualified to lead the Company into its next century. Throughout his career, Bob has led with integrity and conviction, always respecting Disney's rich legacy while at the same time taking smart, innovative risks for the future. His success over the past 27 years reflects his visionary leadership and the strong business growth and stellar results he has consistently achieved in his roles at Parks, Consumer Products and the Studio. Under Bob's leadership as CEO, our portfolio of great businesses and our amazing and talented people will continue to serve the Company and its shareholders well for years to come."
"I am incredibly honored and humbled to assume the role of CEO of what I truly believe is the greatest company in the world, and to lead our exceptionally talented and dedicated cast members and employees," Chapek said. "Bob Iger has built Disney into the most admired and successful media and entertainment company, and I have been lucky to enjoy a front-row seat as a member of his leadership team. I share his commitment to creative excellence, technological innovation and international expansion, and I will continue to embrace these same strategic pillars going forward. Everything we have achieved thus far serves as a solid foundation for further creative storytelling, bold innovation and thoughtful risk-taking."
Bob Chapek began his career at Disney in 1993, moving up the ranks through the company in various positions and spearheading many practices that fans are intimately familiar with. He previously served as President of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, launching the "vault strategy" for the company's movies, which saw many titles become unavailable from retail purchase for years at a time and their "release from the vault" a landmark moment. He also helped transform the primary format of home entertainment from DVD to Blu-ray.
Chapek's career at Disney also saw him work as President of Distribution for The Walt Disney Studios, working on distribution of the feature films across theaters, television, home entertainment and more. He served as the Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts since 2015 and transitioned into the role of Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products in 2018, leading a team of more than 170,000 employees around the globe.
(Cover photo by Jesse Grant / Getty Images)