End of an era: Bob Iger steps down as Walt Disney's CEO

Bob Iger is being replaced by Bob Chapek, who recently served as the head of Disney's parks business

Bob Iger stepped down from the role of Disney's chief executive office on late Tuesday, the company announced. Iger's decision to step down from the role comes quite abruptly given that he extended his term last year. Iger has been replaced by Bob Chapek who has been at the helm of Disney's parks business, with immediate effect.

Iger, however, will continue as the executive chairman of the company. Iger's decision to step down also puts an end to years of speculation on who will be stepping into his shoes. Chapek will continue to report to Iger till he gets appointed to the board of directors at a later date.

End of a long journey

Bob Iger, Disney
Bob Iger, Disney Wikimedia Commons

Iger was at the helm of affairs at Disney for 15 years and played key role in some landmark decisions that included a few major acquisitions. His decision to step down comes as a surprise to many as he delayed his retirement as many as four times in recent years.

Iger, however, will continue to serve as Disney's executive chairman through the end of 2021, said the company. Iger, who played a major role in reshaping Disney into Hollywood's most powerful studio, said that the company's operations have expanded and with such an "asset base in place" he should step down.

"The company has gotten larger and more complex just in the recent 12 months," Iger said in a call with the investors shortly after the announcement. Disney's two major achievements under Iger's leadership in recent times have been the acquisition of 21st Century Fox in 2018 and the launch of its video streaming service Disney+ in late 2019. He had earlier brought in Star Wars and Marvel movies to Dinsey through its acquisitions of Lucasfilm and Marvel Entertainment.

Beginning of a new era

Disney Mickey
Disney Mickey Mouse Pixabay

Chepek, who replaces Iger, is Dinsey's seventh CEO in its nearly 100-year history. Chapek has been with Disney for the past 27 years, and most recently has served as the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

Disney said that Chapek will be looking after all of Disney's businesses. Chapek comes with a lot of experience and has been handling the company's biggest business segment, that of the theme park. He also played a major role coming up with Disney's first theme park in mainland China.

Dinsey has a long history of making abrupt change of power. Earlier, Iger's predecessor, Michael Eisner too had tried to continue as the CEO and extended his term and parted only after Disney had started struggling. Iger, however, tried to ease things during the conference all. "It's only abrupt in other people's eyes because we haven't been talking about it publicly," he said.