Bob Iger will succeed his handpicked successor, CEO Bob Chapek, whose two-year tenure has been marked by conflicts, gaffes, and a deteriorating financial performance. Bob Iger is the enterprising entertainment executive who brought Star Wars, Pixar, and Marvel under the Disney marquee and challenged Netflix's streaming hegemony.
Two weeks prior, Disney's quarterly financial performance, a rare occurrence, fell far short of Wall Street estimates on both profit and revenue, sending shares down 12%. The Walt Disney Co. shares have decreased 40% so far this year.
At the opening bell on Monday, the company's stock increased 8% as Iger's appointment took effect right away.
Reports that Iger was first approached by board members about a potential comeback on Friday sparked the uproar at Disney immediately.
After serving as executive chairman for two years, Iger finally left Disney near the conclusion of the previous year, guiding Chapek and ensuring a peaceful transfer.
Because of how rocky that transition was, Iger committed to a two-year contract on Sunday in order to change Disney's course and find a capable replacement CEO.
Iger served as Disney's chief executive for 15 years before giving the position over to Chapek in 2020. During that time, he amassed a record of successes that were praised by both Disney fans and the entertainment industry.
Chapek was in charge of Disney during one of the most difficult eras in the history of the firm, which started with a pandemic and finished, at least under Chapek's direction, with soaring inflation.
“It is with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility—and, I must admit, a bit of amazement—that I write to you this evening with the news that I am returning to The Walt Disney Company as Chief Executive Officer,” Iger, sent in an email to employees.
Many people felt that Chapek's tenure as CEO was marred by careless mistakes made by a business that, under Iger, seemed impervious to wrongdoing.
Disney's home state of Florida passed a legislation that restricts teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools up to third grade; this measure's opponents termed it the "don't mention gay" law. As a result, the firm found itself in a public dispute with Gov. Ron DeSantis.
At first, Chapek kept quiet in front of the public, which sparked an uprising among the workers. Chapek's subsequent criticism of the bill sparked a political backlash, with conservative politicians and media sites calling for boycotts and decrying Disney as being too "woke."
Peter Rice, the head of Disney General Entertainment Television and one of the most well-known television executives in the business, was fired by Chapek a few months later. The dismissal shocked Hollywood and sparked fresh criticism of Chapek's management from investors.
Conflicts at Disney rarely ended up in the media, but, for better or worse, Chapek seemed to have a penchant for it.
After Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney about her compensation for "Black Widow," a dispute with one of Hollywood's biggest stars became public last year. The success of the 2021 Marvel movie, which was simultaneously released in theaters and on Disney+ for a $30 rental, will determine Johansson's potential earnings.
More questions have been raised concerning Chapek's cost-cutting strategies in recent weeks, including rumors of large-scale layoffs, while Disney fans grumbled about price increases at Disney parks.
Chapek was commended by Board Chairman Arnold for guiding the business through the pandemic.
Iger's return was praised by Wall Street.
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