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Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

In a move that shocked the media industry, Bob Iger said Tuesday he would step down from his role as CEO of the Walt Disney Company after leading the entertainment giant to unprecedented success during his 15-year run in the job.

Why it matters: Iger is credited with having successfully led Disney through a series of risky but highly successful acquisitions that not only solidified the company's entertainment dominance, but also ultimately reshaped the entire media landscape.

Expand chart
Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The big picture: Iger successfully turned around Disney’s animation and studio businesses — and led it through the strategic acquisition of Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox.

  • Most recently, he was the person behind its foray into the streaming era through the creation of the company's Netflix rival, Disney+.
  • He also launched Disney's largest theme park in Shanghai, further expanding the company's global footprint. He worked to build up its business in China, where the country now gets a sizable chunk of its box office revenues.

Iger, originally a weatherman turned ABC sports producer, also leaves a lasting sports legacy, having led ESPN through the cord-cutting era.

  • He is responsible for bringing ESPN to streaming, launching ESPN+ in April 2018. 
  • Today, it boasts more than 7 million subscribers, a feat for any subscription service, let alone one that focuses solely on sports. 

Be smart: Iger touched nearly every part of Disney over his tenure, and now says he's handing over the reins to an unexpected successor, naming longtime parks and resorts executive Bob Chapek as the next chief executive, effective immediately.

  • Chapek was hardly considered a shoo-in for the role. Kevin Mayer, who runs Disney's streaming business, was considered to be a logical successor to Iger, given the current media landscape.

Yes, but: Iger isn't leaving the entertainment giant just yet, staying on as executive chairman through 2021. He said he would use that time to lead Disney's "creative endeavors" while helping Chapek transition into his former role.

  • In a call with investors, Iger said that the news only came as a shock to outsiders — and that internally, these plans had been in the works for some time.

The bottom line: The long transition means that Disney isn't planning a major business shakeup anytime soon, as Iger had been clear that he was working on a succession plan for some time and was supposed to retire at the end of 2021,

  • But Wall Street was still shaken by the news, bringing Disney's stock down nearly 5% after the announcement.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

U.S. releases report finding Saudi prince approved Khashoggi operation

Photo: Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Kingdom Council / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has released an unclassified report assessing that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) approved the operation to "capture or kill" Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Driving the news: The White House also announced sanctions on entities implicated in the murder, though not on MBS directly. Officials also announced a new "Khashoggi ban" under which individuals accused of harassing journalists or dissidents outside their borders can be barred from entering the U.S.

About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says

Joe Biden speaks during an event commemorating the 50 million COVID-19 vaccine shots. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Nearly 1 in 5 adults and nearly half of Americans 65 and older have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, White House senior adviser Andy Slavitt said on Friday.

The big picture: The Biden administration has previously said it has secured enough doses to vaccinate most of the American population by the end of July.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: Employers mull COVID vaccine requirements — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategyPfizer begins study on 3rd vaccine dose as booster shot against new strains.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.