Bob Iger Gives in to Disney Call, Returns to Giant Amid Declining Shares

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Former Disney executive Bob Iger is making a surprise return to the entertainment giant. The return comes less than a year after his retirement.

The company brought him back to face a difficult time. Recently, the stock price has crashed and Disney+ is getting close to a loss. Iger takes over the wheels from Bob Chapek, who set up the company in February 2020.

Iger led the giant’s wheels for 15 years. In January, in an interview with The New York Times, he said it was “ridiculous” to urge him to return.

“I was CEO for a long time,” he stated. “You can’t go home again. I’m gone.” 

Until 2021, Iger served as president of the company. And he took the job for two years, a period in which he looked for a replacement to deal with Disney.

“I am extremely optimistic for the future of this great company and thrilled to be asked by the Board to return as its CEO,” Iger stated. 

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Good Leadership

During his tenure as CEO, Iger built Disney into a capable company. He led the launch of Disney’s streaming platform – Disney+. Additionally, he has completed huge acquisitions such as Pixar, Marvel, 21st Century Fox, and Lucasfilm – Star Wars.

In addition to that, he launched amusement park openings. These decisions aided the giant’s market value to rise five-fold during his time. 

In a statement, the head of the company’s board, Susan Arnold, said Iger was “uniquely situated” to help Disney through “an increasingly complex period of industry transformation.” 

However, Disney shares dropped over 40%, and the giant spilled billions of dollars into Disney+. 

Meanwhile, Iger has taken over from Chapek effective immediately. Particularly during Chapek’s reign as CEO, the closure of his theme parks has been blamed on the COVID pandemic.

“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” Arnold said. 

Disney Synonymous to Iger

Disney’s request for Iger’s return came weeks after the company announced that Disney+ had lost nearly $1.5 billion in three months. Currently, Disney possesses over 235 million subscriptions throughout its three streaming services. It includes ESPN+ and Hulu. 

On the bright side, it has surpassed Netflix, which boasts 223 million subscribers.

Furthermore, Chapek underwent controversy over his reply to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. 

In March, he expressed his apologies for his “painful silence” on the sex education bill. Critics said it would separate LGBT youth and spotted him blasted by workers. 

After Chapek’s statement, Florida lawmakers approved a bill to take away Disney’s special tax status in the state. Notably, the state allowed the giant to control the region in Orlando, where its theme parks are situated. 

To cap it off, Chapek participated in a public war with movie actress Scarlett Johansson. They argued about the release of the Black Widow movie and Disney’s move to drop the superhero film on its streaming platform while it was still in theaters. 

Ultimately, they agreed. They didn’t reveal any further details, though. 

After the announcement of Iger’s return, Disney shares concluded over 6% higher on Monday. 

“Bob Iger is someone who’s synonymous with Disney. He oversaw some of the most successful acquisitions in the company’s history with Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm. So I think there’s a fair among of confidence in Bob in his vision for the industry,” Walter Todd said.

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Photo: The Nation