Bob Iger is returning as CEO of The Walt Disney Co., two years after stepping down. He will replace the man who succeeded him, Bob Chapek.
The shocking change at the top of the company was announced by Disney’s board of directors Sunday night.
“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” Susan Arnold, chairman of the board, said in a statement. “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.”
Iger “has agreed to serve as Disney’s CEO for two years, with a mandate from the Board to set the strategic direction for renewed growth and to work closely with the Board in developing a successor to lead the Company at the completion of his term,” the board said.
Iger, who ran Disney from 2005 to 2020, presided over a period of remarkable success that included Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s entertainment business, as well as the acquisitions of Lucasfilm and Marvel Entertainment — which brought the Star Wars franchise and Marvel Cinematic Universe, respectively, under Disney’s umbrella. Early in his leadership, Disney acquired Pixar Animation Studios. One of his final accomplishments was launching Disney+.
Iger, 71, once toyed with the idea of running for president, but said in 2020 that his family shut down the idea.
He said in an email to Disney employees Sunday night that he will return “with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility — and, I must admit, a bit of amazement.”