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Disney Announces Shocking CEO Shakeup: Bob Iger Returns, Bob Chapek Out

Iger previously served as Disney's CEO from 2005 to 2020.

Bob Iger and Bob Chapek

Bob Iger and Bob Chapek

Getty Images

The Walt Disney Co. has announced that Bob Chapek will step down as CEO, effective immediately, and will be replaced by his predecessor Bob Iger.

“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” chairman of the board Susan Arnold said in a statement. “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.”

“I am extremely optimistic for the future of this great company and thrilled to be asked by the Board to return as its CEO,” Iger said. “Disney and its incomparable brands and franchises hold a special place in the hearts of so many people around the globe — most especially in the hearts of our employees, whose dedication to this company and its mission is an inspiration. 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.”

The stunning news marks the end of Chapek’s tumultuous run at the helm of the world’s largest entertainment company, which began with a pandemic that shuttered theme parks and cinemas and ended with an earnings report that saw the company lose $1.5 billion dollars in Q4. The price of Disney stock has fallen by over 30 percent since Chapek took over as CEO.

Iger previously held the top job at Disney from 2005 to 2020, where he oversaw a period of massive growth that included the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. He attempted to retire at several points during his tenure, but kept extending his contract when he couldn’t find the right successor. The company ultimately settled on Chapek, but it was frequently reported that the two men seldom saw eye to eye.

Iger famously prioritized the creative side of the job, cultivating warm working relationships with many of the biggest names in Hollywood. Chapek employed a more data driven and confrontational approach, famously clashing with Scarlett Johansson over her “Black Widow” contract and with his own employees about the company’s political activity in Florida.

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