In a shocking reversal, Bob Iger has returned as the CEO of the Walt Disney Company effective immediately.
The Disney board has sent out a notice Iger is back and current Disney CEO Bob Chapek is out. Iger says: “I am deeply honored to be asked to again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling.”
Iger handed over the baton as CEO in February 2020 to Chapek after a hugely successful fifteen year run in the job and the final stage of a 47-year run at Disney. He remained onboard as executive chairman until the end of 2021 with Chapek left on his own.
Since his exit, Disney has hit repeated turbulence as the company faces increasingly expensive and difficult battles in streaming even as Disney+ continued to grow. Chapek presided over a messy situation in Florida over legislation, and there was the public clashing with Scarlett Johansson over the release of “Black Widow”.
The 71-year-old Iger previously refused offers to return and revealed back in September he’s enjoying his retirement, but now they’ve lured him back for a minimum of two years. Iger will help set the strategic direction for renewed growth and to work closely with the Board in developing a successor to lead Disney at the completion of his term.
In a statement, board chair Susan Arnold says:
“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.”
The news comes a couple of weeks after a rougher-than-expected quarterly earnings report and Disney’s stock sinking to a multi-year low as executives have warned of weak revenue and profit gains. A full copy of Iger’s statement to employees can be seen below.
Email from Bob Iger to Disney staff, 7:19 p.m.
— The Ankler (@TheAnkler)