Bob Iger makes shock return as Disney CEO

Bob Chapek ousted from top position at entertainment giant

Bob Iger makes shock return as Disney CEO

Bob Iger is returning as CEO effective immediately, Disney has announced, replacing Bob Chapek who is leaving the company.

Disney said that Iger will return as CEO for two years, where he is expected to lead the company to “renewed growth" and also work closely with the board to identify and develop his successor.

"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," said Susan Arnold, chairman of the board, in the announcement.

Iger previously served as the CEO and chairman of The Walt Disney Company from 2005 to 2020, as well as executive chairman and chairman of the board until 2021. Under Iger, the entertainment giant acquired Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and the 21st Century Fox. His reign also saw the opening of Shanghai Disney Resort, the company's first theme park and resort in mainland China.

The reinstated CEO said he is "thrilled" to return to his previous position, adding he is "extremely optimistic" for the company's future. "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," Iger said.

He also sent a message to employees, expressing his "amazement" over his return. "I know this company has asked so much of you during the past three years, and these times certainly remain quite challenging, but as you have heard me say before, I am an optimist, and if I learned one thing from my years at Disney, it is that even in the face of uncertainty - perhaps especially in the face of uncertainty – our employees and cast members achieve the impossible," Iger said as quoted by Yahoo! news.

"You will be hearing more from me and your leaders tomorrow and in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, allow me to express my deep gratitude for all that you do."

Iger replaces Chapek, who served as Disney CEO from 2020 to 2022. Arnold, on the other hand, will continue in her role as chairman of the board. Chapek oversaw lower than expected earnings in the last quarter amid complaints about cost-cutting measures and often blunt approach to talent.

"We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic," Arnold said.

The leadership shake-up comes after Chapek said in a letter to fellow executives that they will be limiting their headcount and business travel to "essential trips only" as part of cost-cutting measures. He also drew flak early this year for refusing to publicly oppose Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill.

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