Wow. Out of nowhere and with no warning, The Walt Disney Company announced Sunday evening that current CEO Bob Chapek is about to be removed and replaced. The replacement? The Bob who came before him, Bob Iger. THR broke the story.
It’s an embarrassing end for what was a rocky reign to begin with. After a period of mentorship in which Chapek half-ruled Disney while Iger guided his direction, Chapek took full reins of the company and looked forward to a bright, promising future. That day was sometime around February of 2020. Cue sad trombones.
Disney’s profits fell rapidly, but so did everybody else’s given the circumstances. Chapek was given a mulligan and he promised to turn things back around as the pandemic cooled. What followed were months of mistakes and public gaffes that made everyone increasingly dissatisfied with Chapek. No matter who you are and what your opinions may be, there’s a Chapek quote or action to make you furious. He just had that knack of stepping on everyone’s toes.
In addition, Iger was a hard act to follow. He is arguably the most successful CEO in the company’s history since Walt himself. He took Disney from a net worth of $55 billion in 2006 to $260 billion by 2020. (Under Chapek it’s shrunk to $167 billion.) Iger healed the rifts that had grown between Petty Eisner and Pixar, then bought them, then bought everyone else. He left Disney more powerful than some Greek gods.
What makes this completely out of left field is the fact that Chapek signed a multi-year contract to stay on as CEO last June. I guess that contract had a lot of wiggle room. Iger swears his return will be temporary until they can find someone better than Chapek, but he’s promised he will sit in the chair once more for at least two years.
And hey — remember that dumb thing Chapek said about animation being for kids? That’s not a problem anymore! Quick, Iger, it’s not too late to renew The Owl House!