I remember not too long ago, news hit the web that Bob Iger had finally stepped down as CEO of Disney. Passing the baton off to Bob Chapek, he would be taking a sort of supervisory role and finally doing what he’d been meaning to do since around 2013. It marked the end of an era for Disney fans — an era characterized by amazing success and unprecedented acquisitions.
And then the COVID-19 pandemic happened. Yes, by around late February (when Iger stepped down), we had known about the ailment, but we didn’t know just how widespread it would be. As a side note, many began to speculate that he had known about the impending pandemic and sought to leave before it took hold. However, given what’s happening next, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
According to The New York Times, Iger has “effectively returned to running the company.” They went on to say that Iger had “smoothly reasserted control” from Chapek. The reason behind this? Iger believes that Disney will emerge from the pandemic “deeply changed” and that it will have fewer employees.
Of course, with the pandemic came the shuttering of their largest division: theme parks. Those brought in more than $26 million last year. These in-person experiences help personify what makes Disney Disney. Needless to say, they’re taking quite the hit. And that’s not even mentioning ESPN, which is struggling due to, you know, the lack of sports. Finally, there are the movie studios, which are all intimately aware of. They’re taking a hit on all fronts.
Disney+ still won’t turn a profit for a long time, and with all of that, they are losing around $30 million a day.
“A crisis of this magnitude, and its impact on Disney, would necessarily result in my actively helping Bob [Chapek] and the company contend with it, particularly since I ran the company for 15 years!” Iger said in an email.
Chapek does seem to be taking the whole thing in stride. “I’ve watched Bob [Iger] lead this company to amazing new heights, and I’ve learned an enormous amount from that experience. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to work closely with him during this transition,” he said in a meeting.
The key goal here is for Bob Iger to get the business up and running again on all fronts — all while not endangering anyone. Apparently, Iger sees this as an opportunity to “look across the business and permanently change how it operates.”
“It’s a matter of great good fortune that he didn’t just leave,” said Richard Plepler, the former HBO chief. “This is a moment where people first and foremost are looking to an example of leadership that has proved itself over an extended period of time — and Bob personifies that.”
What do you think of Bob Iger returning to the fold at Disney and making big changes? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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SOURCE: New York Times