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Disney dumps CEO after 2 challenging years, Bob Iger returns to post


The Walt Disney Company has invited former CEO Bob Iger back to lead the company for two years, firing his successor Bob Chapek in a move that stunned the entertainment industry.

Chapek is leaving after the company posted lower-than-expected earnings last quarter. Hollywood’s creative community has grumbled about Chapek’s cost-cutting measures and sometimes blunt approach to talent, while amusement park operators aren’t happy with the price hike.

So it’s back to Iger.

“The Board concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely positioned to lead the company through this pivotal period,” said Susan Arnold, president of Disney , said in a statement.

Arnold thanked Chapek for leading the company through the pandemic, and appreciated Iger’s stature in the company he led for 15 years before being ousted in early 2020.

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Iger has “deep respect for Disney’s senior leadership team,” she said. She also said that he was “greatly admired by Disney employees around the world.”

“The company’s robust content system is a testament to his leadership and vision,” the company statement said.

Iger said in the statement that he was “delighted” to be back and “extremely optimistic” about Disney’s future.

Iger, 71, said: “I am deeply honored to have once again been asked to lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission to focus on creative excellence to inspire new players. generation through bold, unparalleled storytelling.

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Iger replaced Michael Eisner as CEO in 2005 and the former television weatherman won Wall Street and Hollywood with bold acquisitions and public respect for creative community and long history of the company.

During his 15 years at the helm, Disney absorbed the entertainment businesses of Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel and Fox, then launched the Disney+ streaming service. The company is also the parent company of ABC, ESPN, and Hulu, among other properties.

After Chapek became CEO in 2020, Iger remained as chairman until 2021.

Chapek is stepping down during a difficult year for Disney. He faced criticism earlier this year for failing to use his vast corporate influence in Florida to help rescind a Republican bill that would prevent teachers from conducting early classes on critical issues. LGBTQ topic. The bill sparked a controversy between Disney and Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.

He was also criticized for his handling of Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit last year over her paying for Black Widow, an unusually public conflict between the studio and a top Hollywood star. The 2021 Marvel movie is released simultaneously in theaters and through Disney+ for $30 rental.

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There are reports of massive layoff plans as the company maneuvers to improve its bottom line.

For now, Disney+ is ad-free, but in December it will launch a new tiered service for US subscribers. The basic Disney+ service for $7.99 per month runs ads. Subscribers who don’t want ads will have to upgrade to a premium service that starts at $10.99 per month, up 38% from current prices.

Disney said it ended the fiscal year with more than 235 million subscribers to the streaming service. This was higher than analysts’ expectations of 231.5 million.

Disney’s stock price is at roughly the same level when Iger stepped down as CEO in early 2020, closing at $91.80 on Friday. That’s about half the peak of just over $200 a share in March 2021.

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