The Walt Disney Company announced Sunday that its former CEO Bob Iger will return to lead the company for two years, a move he took from surprise for the entertainment industry.
The company noted that Bob Chapek, who replaced Iger in 2020, has left office. Board Chair Susan Arnold thanked the former Parks, Experiences and Products division director for his services, including his time during the “unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The managers believe it Iger is “in a unique situation” to lead the massive entertainment conglomerate “in an increasingly complex period of industry transformation,” Arnold said in a statement.
Iger led Disney in its acquisition of entertainment companies Lucasfilm, Pixar, Marvel and Fox and in the launch of the Disney+ streaming service. The 71-year-old said he was “excited” to be back and warned he was “extremely optimistic” about Disney’s future.
“I am very grateful to be asked again to lead this outstanding team, with aA clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations with bold storytelling, like no other,” he said in a statement.
Spending cuts and other claims against Chapek
The Hollywood creative community had criticized Chapek’s cost-cutting measures and his own sometimes brusque attitude towards creative staffwhile the regulars of his amusement parks were not happy with the price increases.
In fact, a few weeks ago, Disney reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter fiscal results.
Chapek also came under fire this year for failing to leverage Disney’s massive influence in Florida to sidestep a Republican law that would bar teachers from teaching first graders about LGBTQ issues. The law sparked a dispute between Disney and the governor, Republican Ron DeSantis.
Also controversial was its handling of Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit filed last year over her payment for “Black Widows,” a rare public dispute between the studio and a major Hollywood star. The 2021 Marvel film hit theaters at the same time . and on Disney+ for a $30 rental.
Iger took the helm of the company when the board fired its fifth CEO, Michael Eisner, in 2005. The former TV forecaster conquered Wall Street and Hollywood with bold takeovers and public displays of respect for the creative community and history of the company.
He led the company for 15 years before stepping down in 2020.
With information from AP.