What’s old is new again at Disney (DIS) — Bob Iger is officially back as CEO.
In a shocking turn of events, the media giant announced late Sunday that Iger will return to lead the company as its chief executive officer, effective immediately.
Iger replaces Bob Chapek, who has stepped down from his position after less than three years on the job.
Iger spent more than four decades at Disney, including 15 years as its CEO.
According to the company, Iger will serve as CEO for two years, with a mandate from the Board to “set the strategic direction for renewed growth and to work closely with the Board in developing a successor to lead the Company at the completion of his term.”
“The Board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the Company through this pivotal period,” Susan Arnold, Disney’s chairman of the board, said in a press release.
The news comes just months after Disney’s board of directors unanimously voted in June to extend Chapek’s contract for another three years, through 2025. At the time, the board noted Chapek’s leadership was essential in helping the company overcome pandemic headwinds.
Nevertheless, his tenure has been riddled in controversy — from political battles and A-list talent problems to controversial reorganizations and the ever-looming shadow of Iger, who has spoken out against some of Chapek’s decisions.
Since Chapek took over as Disney CEO in late February 2020, Disney shares are down about 19%; the S&P 500 is up around 34% over that same period.
“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 said in the release.
“Disney and its incomparable brands and franchises hold a special place in the hearts of so many people around the globe—most especially in the hearts of our employees, whose dedication to this company and its mission is an inspiration. I am deeply honored to be asked to again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling,” he concluded.
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