Updated Feb 25, 2020 - Economy & Business

Bob Iger to step down as CEO of Disney

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The Walt Disney Company said Tuesday that it had named longtime Disney executive Bob Chapek as CEO Bob Iger's successor, effectively immediately. Iger will remain executive chairman of the company through 2021.

Why it matters: Iger is credited with having successfully turned around Disney’s animation and studio businesses and with the strategic acquisition of Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. Most recently, he was the person behind Disney's successful launch of its Netflix rival Disney+.

  • Iger's plan to launch Disney+ has largely been a success, with the company revealing on its last earnings call that the streamer had gained over 28 million paid subscribers in less than a quarter.

Iger is credited with having also launched Disney's largest theme park in Shanghai, further expanding Disney’s global footprint. He worked hard to build up Disney's business in China, where the country now gets a sizable chunk of its box office revenues.

  • Iger had been planning a succession plan for some time and was supposed to retire at the end of 2021, but the news still came as a shock to many in the media industry. The market was also clearly taken by surprise, with Disney's stock down nearly 5% after the news.

Be smart: Chapek has spent the majority of his career at Disney focused on its largest revenue stream: parks and resorts. His experience leading Disney's parks division could be a signal that that's where Disney will continue to heavily invest.

  • On a call with investors, Iger said that staying on as executive chairman would allow him to work closely with Chapek as he transitioned into the new role overseeing Disney's TV, studios and streaming businesses.

Worth noting: Earlier Tuesday, Hulu CMO Kelly Campbell was named president of Hulu, which is mostly owned by Disney. Her predecessor Randy Freer exited the company last month amid further leadership consolidation by Disney.

Go deeper

Bob Iger stuns media world with sudden departure as Disney CEO

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.

Disneyland and Disney World to close due to coronavirus outbreak

Disneytown in Shanghai on March 10. Photo: Hector Retama/AFP via Getty Images

California's Disneyland and Florida's Disney World announced they will close this weekend and through the rest of the month, as the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S.

Why it matters: There are currently 198 positive COVID-19 cases in California as of Thursday and four reported deaths. There are 35 coronavirus cases in Florida and two deaths reported as of Thursday. The heaviest concentrations of the virus in the U.S. are in California, Washington and New York.

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Disney and Salesforce departures highlight intensifying CEO shuffle

Bob Iger. Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

A wave of CEO departures was announced Tuesday, as the chief executives of Mastercard, Salesforce, Thomson Reuters and Disney all had notice of their impending departures made official.

The big picture: The incredibly high-profile turnover announcements are part of what has become an emergent trend at the top of U.S. businesses over the past year.