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Bob Iger confirms he will leave Disney by 2021 end

Tuesday’s annual meeting of shareholders was his last

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NEW DELHI: The Walt Disney Company’s executive chairman and former CEO Robert A Iger, better known as Bob, has confirmed that he’ll be leaving the media and entertainment conglomerate by the year’s end. In fact, Tuesday’s annual meeting of shareholders was his last.

Iger was a transformation CEO, overseeing acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. His 47-year tenure at the mouse house will end on 31 December 2021, when he’ll formally pass the torch to the company’s new CEO Bob Chapek.

“I will leave at the end of December with a strong sense of pride and a deep sense of appreciation for the very special place Disney holds in the hearts of people all over the world,” he said during the investors call. He added glowing remarks for his successor, Chapek, saying he will lead with the same principles that helped shape Disney into the magical company that it is today.

“It has been a very trying year. The most difficult we’ve had in recent memory, if ever,” noted Iger. However, he’ll be departing the company when it is in a stronger position than it was six months ago. Disney shares have surged over the past year driven by Disney+ and now what appears to be the cusp of a vaccine-driven economic revival. The shares are trading at about $195, well up from a $52-week low of $79. Its market cap is $354 billion.

Chapek, speaking later at the event, expressed “how grateful I am for the opportunity he has given me and for his faith in me. Bob has led this company to amazing heights over the year and I look forward to continuing to build on his remarkable legacy.”

Iger was named chief executive in 2005, replacing Michael Eisner. In February 2020, much to everyone’s surprise, he stepped down from his role as CEO, citing a proper time for transition. Iger’s exact plans after Disney are unknown, though he has stated in the past that he is interested in other endeavours.

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