Disney CEO Bob Iger has been abruptly replaced as the head of the iconic company.
The company announced on Tuesday after the close of trading that Iger would be stepping down as CEO and appointed executive chairman, effective immediately.
Robert Chapek, previously Disney’s chairman of parks, experiences and products will take over as CEO.
‘I will continue to conduct the company’s creative endeavors while also leading the board,’ Iger said on a conference call with reporters and analysts.
Disney shares, already down some 13 percent this month, dropped as much as 2.6 percent in after-hours trading on the surprise news.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has been abruptly replaced as the head of the iconic company
Robert Chapek, previously Disney’s chairman of amusement parks, will take over as CEO
Iger’s latest contract had been extended through 2021, and his departure came as a surprise to those who follow the company.
‘Did not see this coming — Wowza,’ tweeted LightShed media analyst Rich Greenfield.
Iger, 69, had been CEO of Disney since 2005, and oversaw the acquisitions of Marvel, Pixar and LucasFilms, three massive and ultimately highly lucrative purchases for the company.
His most recent coup was orchestrating a $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment assets and launching the Disney Plus streaming service in November. That service gained nearly 29 million paid subscribers in less than three months.
Iger will remain chairman through the end of his contract December 31, 2021.
Iger said it was an ‘optimal time’ for him to step down following Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s entertainment assets and the launch of Disney Plus.
‘I felt that with the asset base in place and our strategy essentially deployed that I should be spending as much time possible on essentially the creative side of our company,’ Iger said.
Iger has been famously involved in the creative side of Disney endeavors, reportedly watching rough cuts of the Disney Plus series The Mandalorian three times through to give feedback.
Chapek, 60, is only the seventh CEO in Disney history. Chapek had been head of the parks, experiences and products division since it was created in 2018.
‘It’s a tremendous honor for me to assume the role of CEO of the Walt Disney company,’ Chapek said on the conference call.