Bob Iger has stepped down as CEO of Disney, a move that sent immediate shockwaves through the media industry that he helped shape in recent years.
Iger’s move, announced Tuesday, is effective immediately. Hell stay on as executive chairman through December 2021. Bob Chapek will take over as CEO. Chapek was previously in charges of the company’s division that oversaw theme parks and consumer products.
Iger was named president and COO of Disney in 2000 and became CEO in 2005, taking over for Michael Eisner, whose tenure was ended by a shareholder revolt led by Roy E. Disney, who wanted to shake up the companys management.
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Iger was instrumental in guiding Disney into the streaming age and through its acquisition of Foxs entertainment business a deal worth $52.4 billion when it was first announced. Under Iger, Disney went on an acquisition spree that has given it one of the deepest libraries of family-friendly content of any media company, including Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.
On a phone call with investors following the announcement, Iger said the change will allow him to focus on the creative side of Disney, something he couldnt do in his role as CEO. He said his decision to step down wasnt accelerated for any other reason.
Chapek had been seen by Disney’s board of directors as Iger’s successor for some time now, Iger said. He said the immediate change will also give him more time to collaborate with Chapek before 2021.
Iger said there were two factors that led to Tuesdays decision: how best to manage the company in its current form and how best to manage succession and transition. Iger said making the change now provided the best outcome for the company.
The company announced the move in a press release.
While the news came as a surprise Tuesday, Iger had been planning his succession for a while. Last year, at Disneys investor conference he said 2021 will be the time for me to finally step down.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.