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Meet The New Bob: Chapek Replaces Iger As Disney CEO

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Disney’s board of directors just announced that Bob Iger’s term as CEO of The Walt Disney Company has ended. The reins will be handed to Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products (until this promotion). Under different circumstances we might have written this headline earlier….Iger originally planned to step down last year, but the Fox-Disney merger required that Iger stay in the seat until its finalization.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to assume the role of CEO of what I truly believe is the greatest company in the world, and to lead our exceptionally talented and dedicated cast members and employees,” Chapek said. “Bob Iger has built Disney into the most admired and successful media and entertainment company, and I have been lucky to enjoy a front-row seat as a member of his leadership team. I share his commitment to creative excellence, technological innovation and international expansion, and I will continue to embrace these same strategic pillars going forward. Everything we have achieved thus far serves as a solid foundation for further creative storytelling, bold innovation and thoughtful risk-taking.”

We don’t have enough experience with Chapek to properly judge him, but Iger is going to be a very, very hard act to follow. Iger inherited a dysfunctional, imploding company led by a man who made big decisions out of petty jealousy (we’re talking about Eisner). Because of Mikey, Disney and Pixar were about to split up and Disney was instead choosing to make cheap DVD knockoff sequels of the Pixar properties they owned.

Iger put a stop to that immediately, and not only brought Pixar back to the table, he outright bought them. Then he bought the Muppets, and then he bought Marvel, and then he bought Star Wars….sensing a pattern here? The shopaholic’s final and most outrageous purchase was an entire second movie studio, 20th Century Fox. Under Iger, Disney went from being a joke to becoming one of the most powerful companies in the world.

It makes us worried about how Chapek can possibly follow in his footsteps. How do you top Iger? You don’t, and attempting to imitate him on a superficial level by just buying more stuff would be a mistake. In addition, Chapek is now responsible for the health of some of popular culture’s most beloved IPs, and we saw under Eisner how the wrong leadership can sour the product.

We don’t know where Disney is going from here, but we’re all stuck on the ride. Don’t ruin Marvel, Bob, and don’t ruin Star Wars any more than it’s already been ruined.