Bob (Iger) is Back
Will the sequel be as good as the original?
Bob Iger is back. In a move that reverberated around the worlds of media and business, Disney announced on Sunday that its former CEO was back in the job he originally left in February 2020. The company said in a statement:
Mr. Iger, who spent more than four decades at the Company, including 15 years as its CEO, has agreed to serve as Disney’s CEO for two years, 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. Mr. Iger succeeds Bob Chapek, who has stepped down from his position.
Susan Arnold, Chairman of the Board, thanked Iger’s successor/predecessor “for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic.”
However, things had not been going well under Chapek’s tenure. Disney recently reported poor quarterly earnings and when the markets closed on Friday its stock was down 41% in 2022. As CNBC noted, Chapek had also gotten into political trouble, initially saying nothing about Florida’s “Don't Say Gay” law (to the chagrin of Disney staff), before being criticised by Republican politicians when he did.
Iger’s return is surprising not just because he was away for such a short period of time, and not just because Chapek’s contract was renewed relatively recently, but because he genuinely seemed to be enjoying life after Disney. He was talking (relatively) openly on podcasts and at conferences, had been investing, notably in the metaverse, and there was even talk of a presidential run. But now he is back to try and steady the ship that he had already turned into a supertanker thanks to the purchases of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.
So, what next?
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