“The board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the company through this pivotal period.”
The Disney board of directors ousted CEO Bob Chapek on Sunday night. The directors replaced him with former CEO Robert Iger, who left the company less than a year ago.
Disney extended Chapek’s contract for three years in June. At the time, the company praised Chapek: “In this important time of growth and transformation, the Board is committed to keeping Disney on the successful path it is on today, and Bob’s leadership is key to achieving that goal. Bob is the right leader at the right time for The Walt Disney Company, and the Board has full confidence in him and his leadership team.”
That all changed in five months. From The Wall Street Journal:
“The board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the company through this pivotal period,” said Susan Arnold, chairman of Disney’s board, in a statement.
“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” she added.
Now Disney owes Chapek millions since it the company gave him a contract extension.
Iger expanded Disney during his time as CEO, acquiring 21st Century Fox, Lucasfilm, Marvel, and Pixar.
Iger also took charge of launching Disney+.
Chapek saw Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sign a bill ending Disney’s special tax status. Disney complained about DeSantis’s parental rights bill restricting sexual education instruction in grades K-3. Then videos emerged of Disney workers talking about a literal gay agenda to inject into children’s programming.
Desantis said: “You’re a corporation based in Burbank, California, and you’re gonna marshal your economic might to attack the parents of my state. We view that as a provocation, and we’re going to fight back against that.”
Disney has also been in a freefall:
This month, the company reported weaker-than-expected fourth quarter financial results, killing the momentum built up over a strong year that saw record revenue and profits in multiple divisions, especially the one that includes theme parks. Disney’s theme-park business has recovered strongly since the coronavirus pandemic shut down its venues across the world, but the division continues to subsidize widening losses in the streaming video business.
Mr. Chapek has said repeatedly that he expects the streaming business to be profitable by September 2024. In the most recent quarter, though, it lost $1.47 billion, more than twice the year-earlier loss.
The company also cautioned that its profitability target would only be met if there wasn’t a significant economic downturn, the first time it has added such a caveat. Disney’s stock price shot up 9% to more than $100 a share in premarket trading early Monday. Some observers said the management change might benefit the company’s stock.
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