Bob Iger returns to Disney as CEO, replacing Bob Chapek

The former executive chairman will head the company for the next two years

Robert Iger was executive chairman of Disney until his departure in December 2021. AP
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The Walt Disney Company has brought back Robert Iger to the company, less than a year after he retired, to replace Bob Chapek who has stepped down as chief executive.

Mr Iger spent more than four decades previously at Disney, including 15 years as its chief executive from 2005 to 2020, overseeing the company's acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, 21st Century Fox and Lucasfilm, which owned the Star Wars franchise.

He increased Disney's market value fivefold during his time.

Mr Iger, who was executive chairman until his departure in December 2021, will serve as chief executive for two years, the company said in a statement on Sunday.

He will serve “with a mandate from the board to set the strategic direction for renewed growth and to work closely with the board in developing a successor to lead the company at the completion of his term”, Disney said.

The company's streaming business, which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ posted an operating losses of about $1.5 billion in its fourth quarter. Disney's shares have plunged more than 41 per cent since the start of this year, with the stock hitting a 52-week low on November 9.

“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 chairwoman Susan Arnold.

“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.”

Disney said the company's board remained unchanged, with Ms Arnold continuing to serve as chair.

“I am extremely optimistic for the future of this great company and thrilled to be asked by the board to return,” Mr Iger said.

“Disney and its incomparable brands and franchises hold a special place in the hearts of so many people around the globe — most especially in the hearts of our employees, whose dedication to this company and its mission is an inspiration.

“I am deeply honoured to be asked to again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivalled, bold storytelling.”

Updated: November 21, 2022, 5:14 AM