The Iger era of Disney is officially winding down.
Today, Disney’s Board of Directors announced that Bob Chapek will be the next Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company, effective immediately. Mr. Chapek most recently served as Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.
Iger, who has led Disney since 2005, will remain at the company as
Executive Chairman and will direct the Company’s creative endeavors, while leading the Board and providing the full benefit of his experience, leadership and guidance to ensure a smooth and successful transition through the end of his contract on Dec. 31, 2021.
“With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Mr. Iger said. “I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney’s multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the Company’s creative endeavors.”
Chapek will immediately assume control over all of the Company’s business segments and corporate functions. He will report directly to Iger and the Board of Directors. His appointment to the Disney board will occur at a later date, along with a new head of Disney Parks, Experiences and Product.
“I am incredibly honored and humbled to assume the role of CEO of what I truly believe is the greatest company in the world, and to lead our exceptionally talented and dedicated cast members and employees,” Mr. Chapek said. “Bob Iger has built Disney into the most admired and successful media and entertainment company, and I have been lucky to enjoy a front-row seat as a member of his leadership team. I share his commitment to creative excellence, technological innovation and international expansion, and I will continue to embrace these same strategic pillars going forward. Everything we have achieved thus far serves as a solid foundation for further creative storytelling, bold innovation and thoughtful risk-taking.”
During his tenure at the Parks segment, Chapek was instrumental in the opening of Disney’s first theme park and resort in mainland China, Shanghai Disney Resort. He also oversaw the addition of numerous guest offerings across Disney’s six resort destinations in the U.S., Europe and Asia, including the creation of the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
He was also responsible for the addition of Marvel-inspired attractions around the globe; and the expansion of Disney Cruise Line with the announced construction of three new ships.
“The Board has been actively engaged in succession planning for the past several years, and after consideration of internal and external candidates, we unanimously elected Bob Chapek as the next CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said Independent Lead Director of the Disney Board Susan Arnold.” “Mr. Chapek has shown outstanding leadership and a proven ability to deliver strong results across a wide array of businesses, and his tremendous understanding of the breadth and depth of the Company and appreciation for the special connection between Disney and its consumers makes him the perfect choice as the next CEO.
“Mr. Chapek will also benefit from the guidance of one of the world’s most esteemed and successful business leaders, Bob Iger,” Ms. Arnold continued. “Over the past 15-plus years as CEO, Mr. Iger has transformed The Walt Disney Company, building on the Company’s history of great storytelling with the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Twenty-First Century Fox and increasing the Company’s market capitalization fivefold. Disney has reached unparalleled financial and creative heights thanks to Mr. Iger’s strong leadership and clear strategic vision. We believe Mr. Chapek’s leadership and commitment to this strategy will ensure that the Company continues to create significant value for our shareholders in the years ahead.”
Prior to his role with Disney Parks, Chapek was was President of the former Disney Consumer Products segment, where he drove the technology-led transformation of the Company’s consumer products, retail and publishing operations.
He has served as President of Distribution for The Walt Disney Studios and was responsible for overseeing the Studios’ overall content distribution strategy across multiple platforms including theatrical exhibition, home entertainment, pay TV, digital entertainment and new media.
He also served as President of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, where he spearheaded the successful but controversial “vault strategy” for the Company’s iconic films and transformed the primary format of home entertainment from DVD to Blu-ray.