The Walt Disney Company has easily become one of the global powerhouses of our current moment, with its business decisions affecting a wide swath of our popular culture. As such, even some of the people involved with the behind-the-scenes work at Disney have become somewhat of household names, including current CEO Bob Chapek, who succeeded Bob Iger in the role in February of 2020. A new report from Business Insider sheds an interesting light on the transition from Iger to Chapek — and not entirely in a positive way. According to the report, Iger reportedly regrets his decision to name Chapek as his successor.
The report dives into the specifics of how the change took place, with Iger moving up the timetable of his exit as CEO to bring Chapek into the job, and initially planning to mentor him. But according to sources cited in the report, the transition between the two "wasn't smooth," especially once the company was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020.
"If he had known and understood the scope of the pandemic, he never would have stepped down when he did," a former Disney executive says in the report.
Chapek's tenure as Disney CEO has already been dotted with some buzzworthy moments, including the 2021lawsuit from former Marvel star Scarlett Johansson, alleging breach of contract with regard to potential theatrical profits for the release of Black Widow. There was also the more recent controversy surrounding Disney's response, and initial lack thereof, to Florida's "Don't Say Gay" legislation. Amid that, Chapek's contract as CEO was renewed for three more years last month, placing him in the role through the beginning of 2026.
"Disney was dealt a tough hand by the pandemic, yet with Bob at the helm, our businesses—from parks to streaming—not only weathered the storm, but emerged in a position of strength," Disney chair Susan Arnold offered in a statement at the time. "In this important time of growth and transformation, the Board is committed to keeping Disney on the successful path it is on today, and Bob's leadership is key to achieving that goal. Bob is the right leader at the right time for The Walt Disney Company, and the Board has full confidence in him and his leadership team."
"Leading this great company is the honor of a lifetime, and I am grateful to the Board for their support," Chapek added. "I started at Disney almost 30 years ago, and today have the privilege of leading one of the world's greatest, most dynamic companies, bringing joy to millions around the world. I am thrilled to work alongside the incredible storytellers, employees, and Cast Members who make magic every day."1comments