The entertainment industry was stunned Sunday when it was announced that Bob Iger had returned as CEO of The Walt Disney Company, replacing his successor, Bob Chapek. The move was surprising given that Iger had retired earlier in 2020, but according to a report from The Hollywood ReporterDisney’s board had been hoping to fire Chapek for some time with discussion on the matter dating back to a board meeting in late June.
According to the report, the board of directors wanted to appoint someone from their own ranks, specifically Nike chairman Mark Parker, to serve as interim CEO while they looked for someone to permanently go the wrong way. Parker reportedly turned down the role, but General Motors exec Mary Barra was also reportedly on board to replace Chapek as early as June. The report also noted that despite board chairman Susan Arnold issuing a statement of confidence and support for Chapek, his contract had not been renewed at the time, which in itself was a bit telling and when it was extended for three years it was also with retroactive effect. .
The report also indicated that when it came time to actually do away with Chapek, it was a process one source described as “insane”.
“He hasn’t been able to say goodbye or say, ‘I’ve decided to step down,'” the source said. “I bet it broke Chapek’s shot [Peter] Rice in seven minutes. They called [Chapek] and said, ‘You’re gone. Our lawyers will call your lawyers.’ No explanation from him, no comment from him, no mercy. It’s fucking insane.”
Bob Iger returns to Disney, replacing Bob Chapek
“We thank Bob Chapek for his services to Disney throughout his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” said Susan Arnold, chairman of the board of directors, in a statement released late Sunday night by the company. was distributed. “The board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely positioned to lead the company through this critical period.”
“Mr. Iger has the deep respect of Disney’s senior leadership team, most of whom he worked closely with until his departure as Executive Chairman 11 months ago, and is greatly admired by Disney employees around the world – all of which will be a seamless enable transition.” of leadership,” she said.
Iger later sent a company-wide email to Disney employees about his return. You can read the entire email here.
“It is with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility — and, I must admit, a little surprise — that I write to you tonight with the news that I am returning to The Walt Disney Company as Chief Executive Officer,” Iger wrote. in his memo to Disney Cast Members.
He then went on to praise the company’s work during the pandemic, praising them for keeping the company afloat.
“I know this business has asked so much of you over the past three years, and these times certainly continue to be quite challenging, but as you’ve heard me say before, I’m an optimist, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my years at Disney, it is that even in the face of uncertainty – perhaps especially in the face of uncertainty – our employees and Cast Members are achieving the impossible,” the executive added.
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