Iger made his bed so now it must sleep in it (after a nice 2nd shower of course)The 72-year-old chief executive previously said he planned to leave a the end of his contract in 2024.www.nytimes.com
Robert A. Iger has extended his reign at Disney through 2026, as finding an heir continues to be difficult and questions mount about the viability of the company’s vaunted movie studios and theme parks.The Walt Disney Company said on Wednesday that Mr. Iger, 72, will remain chief executive for two years beyond his previously announced re-retirement date. Mr. Iger reluctantly ended his first run at Disney in 2021, handing the company’s top job to Bob Chapek, a former theme park executive. Mr. Chapek was fired in November, and Mr. Iger made a triumphant return as chief executive.At the time, Disney said Mr. Iger had been asked “to set the strategic direction for renewed growth and to work closely with the board in developing a successor to lead the company at the completion of his term.” Mr. Iger repeatedly said that he would retire for good when his contract was up at the end of 2024.“My plan is to stay here for two years,” Mr. Iger told CNBC in November. “That was my agreement with the board, and that is my preference.”But many people in Hollywood were skeptical. During his first tenure as chief executive, from 2005 to 2020, Mr. Iger delayed his departure at least three times. (He continued as Disney’s executive chairman for a year after stepping down as chief executive.)“Because I want to ensure Disney is strongly positioned when my successor takes the helm, I have agreed to the board’s request to remain C.E.O. for an additional two years,” Mr. Iger said in a statement on Wednesday.“The importance of the succession process cannot be overstated," he added, “and as the board continues to evaluate a highly qualified slate of internal and external candidates, I remain intensely focused on a successful transition.”In the months since Mr. Iger has been back at Disney, he has moved quickly to cut costs — some $5.5 billion, in part by eliminating 7,000 jobs, including at Pixar and ESPN — and push Disney’s streaming operation toward profitability. He also won a proxy battle with the activist investor Nelson Peltz, one turning in part on Disney’s poor track record of succession planning. Mr. Peltz declined to comment on Wednesday.But a successor has yet to be identified. The board has been looking at candidates inside and outside the company, Disney has said. Mr. Iger brought a trio of executives with him to this week’s Allen & Company Sun Valley media conference, the annual “billionaires’ summer camp,” and all are viewed as succession possibilities: Dana Walden, a co-chairman of Disney Entertainment; her counterpart, Alan Bergman; and Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.A spokeswoman for Mr. Iger said he was unavailable for an interview.In recent months, as Disney’s troubles have increased, senior executives have privately pressed Mr. Iger to renew. In its statement on Wednesday, Disney took pains to point out that it was the board, not Mr. Iger, that pushed for an extension. Given his serial contract renewals, a narrative has formed in Hollywood, rightly or wrongly, that he is reluctant to step away from power. “The board determined it is in the best interest of shareholders to extend his tenure, and he has agreed to our request,” Mark G. Parker, chairman of the Disney board, said in the statement, adding that Mr. Iger had already “set Disney on the right strategic path for ongoing value creation.”Disney shares have been trading at about $90, down 3 percent from a year ago and 54 percent from their peak in March 2021. Following the news of Mr. Iger’s extension, shares remained largely flat in after-hours trading.The challenge is that, in addition to succession, Disney is dealing with problems on almost every front, including new questions about its movie studios, given disappointing results at the summer box office for “Elemental,” “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” and, to a lesser extent, “The Little Mermaid.” Disney has been maneuvering to buy full control of Hulu, but such a purchase would be expensive, and Disney is loaded with roughly $45 billion in debt, partly because of the pandemic.In the meantime, Disney’s earnings engine for the last 30 years — traditional television, including ESPN — has become a shadow of its former self, the result of cord cutting, advertising weakness and rising sports programming costs. Mr. Iger is betting that streaming services will return the company to growth. But Disney+ has been shedding subscribers, and a broader streaming division remains unprofitable, losing nearly $2 billion since the start of the fiscal year.Disney is also contending with a lingering screenwriters’ strike; and contract negotiations between studios and SAG-AFTRA, the guild that represents about 160,000 actors, have been going poorly and could result in a strike as early as Thursday.Unlike most of its rival media conglomerates, Disney can rely on its theme park business for profit and growth — unless a recession hits. Lately, attendance at the company’s largest property, Disney World in Florida, has appeared to weaken as part of a broader decline in tourism to Florida. (Universal Studios has also seen softness, according to analysts.)Disney has been embroiled in a public standoff with Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida over control of government services at Disney World. Dueling lawsuits are making their way through federal and state courts, and Mr. DeSantis has been harshly critical of Disney as a “woke” corporation while campaigning for president.In an email to employees on Wednesday, Mr. Iger acknowledged the company’s many challenges.“There is more to accomplish before this transformative work is complete, and I am committed to seeing this through,” he said. “As I’ve said many times since we began this important transformation of the company, our progress will not be linear as we continue navigating a difficult economic environment and the tectonic shifts occurring in our industry.”
Chapek has and always was a cost cutter. It is how he got as far as he did. He had his chance to do something for the parks and instead he cut all active projects, cancelled others, and then blew everything on D+ content. He was the guy who said unprecedented demand and then had zero plans in place for the park. Why do you think we had such a pathetic D23 last year?I get you, and as a parks fan myself I do hate the cost cutting and price increases in that is still happening today.
I wish Chapek let the parks spend money in the parks like Iger is letting studios spend money today.
Chapek is $23M better off now with his exit package after getting fired but pales into comparison in Ovitz exit package of $140M when he left Disney in 1994.Agreed. Chapek tried to be a leader instead of doing what Iger wanted. Then he toggled to get in line and it was too late. If Chapek wanted to stay in the job, he should have done and said exactly as Iger told him from behind the scenes.
Personally, I think Chapek is way better off right now.
…we’ll get Scotland Yard on thatValueAct began buying Disney this summer during the Hollywood strikes and it is now one of the investor's largest positions, the Activist Spotlight has learned.www.cnbc.com
Guess which one is really cozy with Bob...
Personally, I would love to see more money invested in WDW parks, not just new DVCs.Chapek has and always was a cost cutter. It is how he got as far as he did. He had his chance to do something for the parks and instead he cut all active projects, cancelled others, and then blew everything on D+ content. He was the guy who said unprecedented demand and then had zero plans in place for the park. Why do you think we had such a pathetic D23 last year?
Iger isn't the answer but at the very least, he would have handled the situation that led to the Florida mess better and kept the studio structure that had been working in place. What I hope is he does what he did before, leave who ever is in change of the parks alone to do their thing while he stays in his lane with the studios until he is eventually replaced.
It’s been almost a year now, and we still have…Yes, we do. He was terrible. Even before he became CEO, he was running the parks and was the one who implemented all the cheap merch, food quality reductions, increased after hours, over stuffing parties, reduced maintenance.
He isn't a solution.It’s been almost a year now, and we still have…
Cheap merch, reduced food quality, even more after hours events (try putting the stink of Jollywood Nights on Chapek), over-filled parties, and abysmal maintenance.
When does the Calvary arrive? Or are tight fitting pants not conducive to horseback riding?
Register on WDWMAGIC. This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.