Feb 26, 2020 - Economy & Business

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.

  • CEO turnover hit a record high in January, with outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas declaring the moves were "skyrocketing to start 2020."

Driving the news: Disney CEO and Ithaca College alumnus Bob Iger will move into an executive chairman role at the company and be replaced by parks and resorts chairman Bob Chapek effective immediately.

  • Salesforce Co-CEO Keith Block will step down, leaving Marc Benioff as the company's sole CEO.
  • Mastercard announced CEO Ajay Banga will move on at the start of next year and be replaced by chief product officer Michael Miebach.
  • Thomson Reuters announced CEO Jim Smith will be replaced by TPG senior adviser Steve Hasker, who formerly served as CEO of entertainment agency CAA and president of data firm Nielsen.

By the numbers: In January, 219 CEOs left their positions, a 37% increase from December when 160 CEOs departed.

  • January's new record high also was 27% higher than the previous monthly record of 172, which was set in October, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Of note: The timing of the announcements is odd, not just because four large companies announced them on the same day, but because they appear timed to drop while much of the public's attention is focused on the coronavirus outbreak.

Go deeper: Bob Iger stuns media world with sudden departure as Disney CEO

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.

CEO salaries are growing at an unprecedented pace

Reproduced from As You Sow; Chart: Axios Visuals

CEO pay is growing at breakneck speeds even for top executives who aren't doing a very good job. In response to this trend of overvalued execs, social responsibility nonprofit As You Sow released its latest report on the most overpaid CEOs of S&P 500 companies.

What it means: The list is a calculation based on the chief executive's pay package, total shareholder return of the company during the previous year, and the pay relative to their company's average worker.

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.

Go deeperArrowMar 12, 2020 - Health