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Iger Returning to Disney as CEO for Two Years

    Iger Returning to Disney as CEO for Two Years
    Updated Nov 21, 2022
    Image credit: CNBC

    Facts

    • On Sunday, the Walt Disney Company's board announced that former CEO Bob Iger, who stepped down in 2020, will return to the position, replacing his successor Bob Chapek.[1]
    • Board chair Susan Arnold said that the 71-year-old, who led the company for 15 years and oversaw its acquisitions of Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Fox's entertainment businesses, and the debut of its Disney+ streaming service, was "uniquely situated" for the position at this time.[2]
    • Disney shares jumped on the news, which came days after Chapek announced plans to cut costs, particularly related to Disney+. Shares had declined 41% on the year as of Friday, also striking a 52-week low on Nov. 9.[3]
    • Chapek navigated disruption caused by the COVID pandemic, which saw a rise in competition from streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video and forced him to close some of Disney’s theme parks. He also dealt with political pressure from the public over Florida's so-called "Don't Say Gay" laws.[4]
    • Chapek had repeatedly suggested that Disney+ would be profitable by Sept. 2024, but it lost $1.47B last year, which was more than twice the loss from the previous year.[5]
    • The board has given Iger two years to lead Disney through its current complications and mentor a new successor. Though it saw a total revenue increase of 9% in the last three months, this was still offset by the streaming losses and lower total growth than analysts expected.[6]

    Spin

    Left narrative

    Disney needs someone with Iger’s track record to get things back on track. He’s already had a quick impact on investors, giving the stock a much-needed boost just one day after the announcement. His stability will help with the public criticism the company took for not standing taller against the anti-LGBTQ bills of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

    Right narrative

    Iger's return is lauded by Wall Street and Disney fans alike, but the company has just reinstated the man who set it down its detrimental "woke" path in the first place. No one knows how this move will work out in the long run, but hopefully, it won't be focused on appealing to fringe liberal employees and consumers.

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