After the pandemic, Disney brings back its former boss

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Vox Media BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 07: The Walt Disney Company Former CEO and Chairman Robert Iger speaks onstage during Vox Media’s 2022 Code Conference – Day 2 on September 07, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Vox Media)

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Vox Media

Bob Iger pictured on September 7, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California.

DISNEY – Bob Iger is back: the Disney board of directors asked him to take over the post of general director that he had left to Bob Chapek in 2020after fifteen years in this position, in order to restore momentum to the company.

Bob Iger, 71, has agreed to return to lead the enchanted kingdom for two years with the objective of establishing a strategy for “renewed growth”, Disney said in a statement. He will also aim to work with the board of directors to find a successor.

“The Board felt that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely positioned to lead the company through this pivotal time.”justified the president of the board of directors, Susan Arnold, in the press release.

Champion of Disney’s family and polished image, Bob Iger led the company from 2005 to 2020 and remained executive chairman of the group’s board of directors until the end of 2021. He “has the deep respect of the Disney leadership team”, said Ms. Arnold. The company, founded in 1923, did not detail the reasons for Bob Chapek’s departure, indicating only that he had left his position.

A Disney veteran, he took office in early 2020, just at the start of the pandemic. He then had to manage the closing, then the reopening, of amusement parks, but also the expansion of streaming. The results of this activity, which faces fierce competition between Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or HBO Max, have recently come out mixed.

A share down 40% since the start of 2022

Disney+ again gained many subscribers in the third quarter and had more than 164 million at the end of September. But the Californian group’s video-on-demand platforms (Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu) recorded an operating loss of nearly $1.5 billion.

And if his branch “amusement parks, experiences and derived products”, generated record sales over the period, the company’s total turnover had disappointed the market. The action of Disney lost more than 13% the day after the announcement of these results, at the beginning of November. It is down more than 40% compared to the start of the year.

The mandate of Mr. Chapek was also marked by a complicated episode in Florida where the company had, at the beginning of the year, initially decided not to speak out against a law prohibiting the teaching of subjects related to orientation. sexual or gender identity in elementary school.

Pushed by employees, Mr. Chapek, finally openly criticized the text, arousing the ire of conservative Governor Ron DeSantis and leading to the removal of a favorable administrative status which the Disney World theme park had enjoyed since the 1960s in this state.

Under the leadership of Bob Iger, Disney had become an entertainment empire, between the acquisitions of the animation studio Pixar in 2006 (” The world of Nemo “, “Toy Story”), from Marvel in 2009 (“X-Men”, ” Spiderman “ and the whole series of “Avengers”), from Lucasfilm in 2012 (“Star Wars”, “IndianaJones”) or most of the assets of the former 21st Century Fox group in 2019. The launch of Disney+ was one of its last feats of arms.

Under his tenure, Disney’s market capitalization had quintupled. “I am very optimistic about the future of this great company and delighted that the board has asked me to return as managing director”commented Bob Iger in the press release.

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After the pandemic, Disney brings back its former boss

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