It looks like Bob Iger is back in control at Disney, even if it is just temporarily. In a new report from the New York Times published late Sunday night, Iger has reportedly "reasserted control" at the House of Mouse to pilot the company through the difficulties it's suffering as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Shortly after Iger stepped down from his post, the pandemic ended up forcing closures of virtually all Disney parks around the world, one of the company's primary sources of revenue. Those said closures have since led to temporary layoffs to the tune of some 70,000 employees.
As the Times' Ben Smith writes, Iger is piloting the company remotely, as per current company guidelines. "Mr. Iger is now intensely focused on remaking a company that will emerge, he believes, deeply changed by the crisis," Smith writes. "The sketch he has drawn for associates offers a glimpse at the post-pandemic future: It’s a Disney with fewer employees, leading the new and uncertain business of how to gather people safely for entertainment."
Iger officially stepped down as CEO February 25th, leading to a takeover by former parks and cruises head Bob Chapek. Iger had still remained with the company as "executive chairman," throughout the end of his contract on December 31, 2021. In his new role, Iger said he was focusing primarily on the company's creative output, especially with a new service such as Disney+ freshly released to the masses.
"The company has gotten larger and more complex in the recent 12 months," Iger previously explained on a press call announcing the changes. "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."
As it stands now, all United States-based Disney theme parks are closed at least through the end of April, though that's looking likely to change. Just last week, Universal Orlando announced due to local regulations, it'd be adhering to guidelines and extending its shutdown through the end of May.
Cover photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage