Nov 21, 2022 - Economy

Bob Iger announces restructuring at Disney, top media exec to depart

Photo: Tommaso Boddi/WireImage

Bob Iger is wasting no time reorganizing Disney, announcing less than a day after he had been renamed the company's CEO that he plans to restructure the company "in a way that honors and respects creativity as the heart and soul of who we are."

Why it matters: The move will quickly reverse organizational changes made by Bob Chapek, the former CEO Iger named to succeed him in 2020 that he then replaced on Sunday.

Catch up quick: Shortly after being named CEO in 2020, Chapek announced a major restructuring of Disney's media and entertainment division to separate content creation from content distribution, taking budgeting decisions away from content creators.

  • As a part of those changes, Chapek elevated Kareem Daniel, a longtime Disney consumer products executive, to a newly created role where he would oversee all of Disney's content distribution.

Details: Iger said Monday that Daniel would be leaving the company in a memo to employees obtained by Axios.

  • He said he had tasked some of his top lieutenants "to work together on the design of a new structure that puts more decision-making back in the hands of our creative teams and rationalizes costs."
  • Those lieutenants include Disney's entertainment content chair Dana Walden, its studio chair Alan Bergman, its chairman of ESPN and sports content Jimmy Pitaro, and its chief financial officer Christine McCarthy.

The big picture: Tension between Iger and Chapek had been building for the past two years as Chapek sought to bring his own management style and vision to the company Iger led as CEO for 15 years before him.

  • In his note Monday, Iger said that elements of the media and entertainment distribution division would remain, but "I fundamentally believe that storytelling is what fuels this company, and it belongs at the center of how we organize our businesses."

Between the lines: Reports suggest Disney executives expressed frustration with Chapek's leadership, leading the company's board to ultimately reinstate Iger.

  • The negotiations happened quickly over the weekend, after the board contacted Iger on Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

What's next: Iger said Disney's goal is to have the new structure "in place in the coming months."

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