- In the Parks
Yeah, he kinda did. And he also got sued by his shareholders for stealing from the company. Iger never pulled that.
Seriously, Walt wanted to, and definitely got paid for what he did. Any discussion of Iger or Chapek being greedy has to acknowledge that Walt was far more aggressive in accumulating wealth than any other Disney leader. There is nothing wrong with that.
I would argue, though, that—at least the way it presented itself—that it was mainly in the name of innovation. Sure, I’m sure one wants to be wealthy. But there were MANY other things he could have done that weren’t so risky. He was a storyteller first and business man second. There were multiple times that he lost it all or gambled it all in the name of pushing the envelope in animation or his parks. He went bankrupt trying something new early on in Kansas City and he took money against his life insurance to fund the parks when banks said no to loans. He was personally sacrificing his finances For something he believed in, and sometimes, it just didn’t work. Plus, it was Roy that was the money guy; Walt just did his thing and Roy had to cover logistics. Not saying he wasn’t involved at all (of course not) but Walt was a visionary that wanted that creative execution, even if it meant figuring out a lot of new ways to do things. In my opinion of reading biographies and watching documentaries at least.
With Iger at least, it seems that it is less creative and more “easy and quick”. Rather than putting in the effort to launch into brands similar to Star Wars, why not just throw some money at it to acquire it? Same with marvel, etc.
and for rides, why come up with unique and in-park-only IP when you can just use stories and characters already used and invested in? Just slap those characters on an existing ride. It saves money while bringing something new.
So in summary, under Iger it seemed more like a blatant and easier money grab with everything because of so many corners so obviously cut on the way to $$$, at the sacrifice of quality and storytelling. I don’t feel that was the case with Walt; if he had to play it safe and cut corners, we wouldn’t have this company. No Mickey, no Snow White, no theme parks. While there were some questionable moments where he clearly was wearing the same CEO pants as Iger, I truly feel He just was lucky that the decisions and innovation led to the $$$.