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Bob Chapek’s Disney Contract Extended for 3 Years

Chapek, just the seventh CEO in Disney's 100-year history, has weathered several storms to get here.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek during an address at the Boston College Chief Executives Club, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Disney CEO Bob Chapek during an address at the Boston College Chief Executives Club

AP

The Disney board of directors has unanimously voted to extend Bob Chapek’s contract. He will remain CEO for three more years.

“Disney was dealt a tough hand by the pandemic, yet with Bob at the helm, our businesses — from parks to streaming — not only weathered the storm, but emerged in a position of strength,” Susan Arnold, the chairman of Disney’s board, said in a statement on Tuesday. “In this important time of growth and transformation, the Board is committed to keeping Disney on the successful path it is on today, and Bob’s leadership is key to achieving that goal. Bob is the right leader at the right time for The Walt Disney Company, and the Board has full confidence in him and his leadership team.”

“Leading this great company is the honor of a lifetime, and I am grateful to the Board for their support,” Chapek, who is 63, added. “I started at Disney almost 30 years ago, and today have the privilege of leading one of the world’s greatest, most dynamic companies, bringing joy to millions around the world. I am thrilled to work alongside the incredible storytellers, employees, and Cast Members who make magic every day.”

Chapek succeeded Bob Iger in the role of Disney chief executive officer on February 25, 2020. Chapek, who was previously the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, is just the seventh CEO in Disney’s near-100-year history.

Prior to his parks and consumer products oversight, Chapek was president of distribution for The Walt Disney Studios, where he managed the company’s film content distribution strategy across multiple platforms. He has also served as president of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

Of course, Chapek’s chief-executive suite hasn’t exactly been the happiest place on Earth (TM) thus far. The successor to the generally beloved other Disney Bob faced a major PR crisis months ago, when the company’s early silence over Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill led to an internal revolt by some employee groups. It didn’t help the perception issue that Disney donated to several of the lawmakers behind the bill, including Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis.

Chapek eventually condemned the education bill, which by then had been signed into law. The Disney chief’s late-breaking stance caused a whole new set of problems for his organization. In an apparent move of retaliation, DeSantis vowed to strip Disney of its special-district status, which includes tax breaks and the ability for the park to essentially police itself.

Local residents are now suing DeSantis, arguing that the repeal of Walt Disney’s special district would saddle taxpayers with $1 billion worth of bond debt. The Walt Disney World Florida property had been covered by the Reedy Creek Improvement District since 1967.

Prior to his decades at Disney, Chapek worked in brand management at H.J. Heinz Company, and in advertising at J. Walter Thompson, according to his company bio. He has a degree in microbiology from Indiana University Bloomington, and received his MBA from Michigan State University.

According to a January SEC filing, Chapek made more than $32 million last year. Most of that was a cash bonus, and stock and option awards. Chapek’s 2021 salary was $2.5 million.

While Chapek’s base salary will remain the same under his extended contract, Disney has granted its CEO a “long-term incentive award having a target value of not less than $20 million annually,” according to a Tuesday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. While that is a target and not a guarantee, it represents a potential 60 percent increase from his previous bonus target.

Want more big numbers? Since Disney+ launched under Iger, the streaming service has grown to 137.7 million subscribers. Chapek forecasts having 230-260 million global paid subscribers by September 2024.

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