In a stunning reversal, the Walt Disney Co.
announced Sunday night that Chief Executive Bob Chapek was out, and will be replaced by his predecessor, Robert 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,” board chair 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.”
Iger served as Disney’s CEO from 2005-’20, and served as executive chairman and chairman of the board through 2021. Over his 15-year tenure as CEO, Disney rebuilt itself as a media powerhouse, with the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and its “Star Wars” properties, and 21st Century Fox. “Mr. Iger has the deep respect of Disney’s senior leadership team, most of whom he worked closely with until his departure as executive chairman 11 months ago, and he is greatly admired by Disney employees worldwide — all of which will allow for a seamless transition of leadership,” Arnold said in the statement. Disney made clear that Iger’s return will be temporary — two years, with a mandate from the board to set a new strategic direction and develop a successor. “Wow,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a tweet Sunday night. “Iger had golden touch at Disney,” he said, adding that his return is a “major strategic move with ramifications across the media and streaming industry l …