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Former CEO Bob Iger takes over for Bob Chapek at Disney

Chapek found it difficult to stand on his own throughout the pandemic and other conflicts.

Like Woody in the first Toy Story, Bob Chapek must feel ignored. Disney stated that previous CEO Bob Iger would take over as the Company’s head once again, succeeding Chapek, who has held the position for less than three years. This was a Sunday night news dump for the ages.

This was unexpected. Iger turned the Company over to Chapek in February 2020 after serving as CEO for 15 years. Given that Chapek, who oversaw the parks and entertainment division, was viewed as a more likely heir to the Disney kingdom than Kevin Mayer, the head of streaming, it was an unexpected decision. Iger, however, reportedly hand-selected Chapek to be his replacement and frequently stated he was content with his retirement. Iger stated in March 2020, “I can’t conceive of a better individual to succeed me in this post.”

However, Chapek never truly found his footing.
First, the Covid-19 outbreak completely changed the Company’s operations, forcing parks and theaters to close.

Then, Chapek battled to keep several controversies under control.

He first refrained from strongly criticizing Florida’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law, which infuriated many workers.
Under his leadership, Disney and actor Scarlett Johansson got into a public spat over how much she should have been paid for playing Black Widow.
The board appears to have retreated to Iger after the Company’s recent performance served as the breaking point. Last quarter, both Disney’s streaming business and its parks segment failed forecasts. Shares are down 41% for the year.

Can Iger change the situation?
He has a really impressive resume. Disney rebranded itself during its original term as CEO by acquiring Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar. The Disney board is hoping that Iger will similarly right the ship during his two-year contract.

Board Chairman Susan Arnold noted that Bob Iger is particularly qualified to guide the Company through this critical era as Disney enters an increasingly challenging phase of industry upheaval.

In the big view, hiring a former CEO to bring stability is not unusual in American business. Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz just rejoined the firm as interim CEO. The once-rejected Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997.