Bob Iger returns as Disney CEO, stunning entertainment industry

BURBANK, California. – The Walt Disney Company announced late Sunday that former CEO Bob Iger will return to lead the company for two years, stunning the entertainment industry.

Disney said in a statement that Bob Chapek, who succeeded Iger in 2020, has resigned from the position. Disney CEO Susan Arnold thanked Chapek for his leadership during “the unprecedented challenges of… the pandemic.”

She said the directors believed Iger was “in a unique position” to lead the entertainment giant through “an increasingly complex time of industry transformation.” Iger, 71, ran Disney for 15 years as it acquired the entertainment businesses of Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel and Fox and then launched its Disney+ streaming service. He resigned in 2020.

Iger said in the statement he was “excited” about the return and “extremely optimistic” about Disney’s future.

“I am deeply honored to be asked to once again lead this remarkable team with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling,” said Iger.

Stella McCartney celebrates her new arrival "come back" Capsule collection and documentary publication by Peter Jackson "come back"
Robert Iger at the Stella McCartney “Get Back” Capsule Collection and documentary release of Peter Jackson’s “Get Back” at The Jim Henson Company on November 18, 2021 in Los Angeles.

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Hollywood’s creative community had grumbled about Chapek’s cost-cutting measures and his sometimes blunt approach to talent, while theme park regulars were unhappy with price hikes. Earlier this month, Disney reported lower-than-expected fiscal fourth quarter results.

Chapek faced backlash earlier this year for failing to use Disney’s enormous influence in Florida to repeal a Republican law that would prevent teachers from teaching early grades about LGBTQ issues. The bill triggered one Dispute between Disney and Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.

He was also criticized for his handling of Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit last year over her pay for Black Widow, an unusually public standoff between the studio and a top Hollywood star. The 2021 Marvel film was released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ for a $30 rental.

Iger first came to power at Disney when the board ousted its fifth CEO, Michael Eisner, in 2005. The former TV weatherman wowed Wall Street and Hollywood with bold takeovers and public respect for the company’s creative community and turbulent history.

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