It's the end of an era for Disney as Bob Iger is stepping down as CEO effective immediately. Meanwhile, the company has named Bob Chapek as its new chief executive officer, making him one of the most powerful figures in the media landscape. Iger is set to remain on board as executive chairman through December 2021 when his contract ends.
Bob Iger assumed the role of CEO in 2005. Iger has discussed plans to leave in the past, but Disney has enjoyed unprecedented levels of success during his tenure, including a record-shattering year at the box office in 2019. Wall Street responded to the shift rather quickly, as Disney shares fell 2.5 percent. Iger had this to say in a statement.
"With the successful launch of Disney's direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO. I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney's multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the Company's creative endeavors."
Disney+ launched in November and gave Disney a major leg up in the streaming game. Bob Iger also presided over last year's $71.3 billion merger with Fox last year. With the dust settling on both of those fronts, Iger felt it was time to move on. Bob Chapek will have big shoes to fill. Chapek has been with the company since 1993. Chapek previously served as Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products since 2018. Prior to that, he was Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Chapek had this to say in a statement.
"I am incredibly honored and humbled to assume the role of CEO of what I truly believe is the greatest company in the world, and to lead our exceptionally talented and dedicated cast members and employees. Bob Iger has built Disney into the most admired and successful media and entertainment company, and I have been lucky to enjoy a front-row seat as a member of his leadership team. I share his commitment to creative excellence, technological innovation and international expansion, and I will continue to embrace these same strategic pillars going forward. Everything we have achieved thus far serves as a solid foundation for further creative storytelling, bold innovation and thoughtful risk-taking."
During his time as CEO, Bob Iger massively expanded the scope of Disney. Iger oversaw major acquisitions of companies such as Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. Those acquisitions gave Disney a major competitive edge in the marketplace, with the Marvel Cinematic Universe becoming a box office behemoth, with more than $22 million taken in so far across its titles since Iron Man hit theaters in 2008. Star Wars has also had a great deal of financial success under Disney, with more than $5 billion in box office since Lucasfilm was purchased in 2012. Pixar remains one of the most respected and reliable brands in all of entertainment, not just animation.
A new head of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products is set to be named at a later date. It will be interesting to see if Disney can maintain its dominance under the leadership of Bob Chapek. For better or for worse, this is set to become the tale of the two Bobs atop one of the world's most powerful media empires. This news comes to us via The Walt Disney Company.