“We are grateful to Bob Chapek for his services to Disney throughout his long career,” said Susan Arnold, Disney Chairman of the Board.
The board of directors decided that as the conglomerate “embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely positioned to lead.”
Chapek was chief executive for two years, a period in which Wall Street raised concerns about the company’s rising expenses. Disney’s stock is down 41% this year.
Iger, who was chief executive for 15 years, increased the company’s market capitalization fivefold during that period.
Iger promoted Chapek as his replacement in 2020 but the relationship between the two became strained.
“I am deeply honored to be asked to lead this extraordinary team again,” said Iger, who led Disney through the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox, and through the launch of Disney+ and ESPN+.
Last Friday, Bob Chapek, CEO of Disney, announced that he would initiate an adjustment plan within the company to reduce costs. The action, which could include layoffsis given after fall 13.4% on the stock market on Wednesdayfor not having fulfilled the earnings expectations in your quarterly financial report.
Disney disappointed investors this month with an earnings report which posted mounting losses at its streaming media unit, which includes Disney+. Shares hit their lowest in 20 years the day after fourth-quarter results.
The streaming business lost almost $1.5 billion in the quarter, more than doubled the prior year’s losses, dwarfing subscriber gains. The unit has yet to turn a profit since its launch in 2019. Disney has said it expects Disney+ to be profitable in fiscal 2024.
“I’m an optimist And if I learned one thing from my years at Disney, it’s that even in the face of uncertainty – perhaps especially in the face of uncertainty – our employees achieve the impossible,” Iger said in a memo to employees seen by Reuters.
Iger left Disney on a high note, as the company led the battle against Netflix in the streaming wars. During his tenure, Disney made several key acquisitions, including Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Entertainment, and 21st Century Fox, and increased its market capitalization fivefold.
During his first term, Disney’s annualized shareholder return was over 14%well above its rival Comcast and the stock market in general.
During this second stage, Iger will be in charge of “putting Disney on the path of renewed growth” and working with the board to identify a successor, the company said. The leadership change caught employees by surprise, according to two company sources.