This week Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek was rewarded with a three-year contract renewal from the Disney board of directors. The year-and-a-half that Chapek has been in charge was full of challenges and controversy. During the year 2020 and most of 2021 Chapek had to guide the company through the pandemic which saw movie releases being delayed or sent straight to Disney+, closing all the amusement parks for the first time in company history, and dealing with political controversy.
While most business insiders praise Bob Chapek for his leadership during all the challenges he did not gain a lot of casual fans. The CEO of Disney saw the successful launch of Disney+ and stay true to his convictions that the future of media was streaming. Of course, the most noticeable challenge for Chapek is reversing the direction of Disney’s share price. While not the only company that has seen its share prices plummet over the last year, Disney has always been a leader in the US economy.
The first step in sending the company in the right direction is sending off the newest cruise ship, the Disney Wish, this past Wednesday. The cruise ship will set off on its maiden voyage on July 14th and hope to encourage travelers to go back on cruises. The Wish is the first new cruise ship to join the fleet in the past decade. The ship is the first of its kind that incorporates themed dining attractions and offers immersive experiences from the Marvel, Frozen, and Star Wars universes.
The Amusement Parks
This area is probably the loudest you hear dissent about Bob Chapek. While fans of the parks understood the reasons for closing the parks and phasing the reopenings with new rules, the progress of returning the parks back to pre-covid operations has been a challenge. With the introduction of a new reservation system for visiting the parks and Genie+ to plan your day, new visitors and veterans have complained about how complicated the systems are. Chapek has announced in previous statements that the current park systems are not going away anytime soon.
While the parks continue to be crowded with guests on a daily basis, the amount of visitors that have trouble navigating the new system continues to grow. One of the biggest challenges all of the parks are facing right now is staffing. Since the pandemic finding employees have become a challenge to fully staff the parks.
If Chapek wants to see the company stock prices grow in the right direction he will need to address this challenge first.
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While the amusement parks are the foundation of the Disney company, its lineup of films is what keeps the company ahead of its competition. Before the pandemic, Disney overall was destroying the competition with its lineup of movies from Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, and newly acquired Fox. Since the pandemic though it has been a different story.
The hope over the past year was Disney’s theatrical releases would see fans return to the theaters. That has been a challenge for most studios but Chapek’s hope that Lightyear would buck the trend, but didn’t happen. With Top Gun: Maverick crossing over the $1 Billion mark worldwide this past month showed that people are willing to go to the theaters.
Chapek needs to bring back the excitement families and moviegoers had before the pandemic.
If Bob Chapek wants to serve out the full length of his term, he will need to focus on these two areas first to bring Disney shares up. What areas do you all think Bob Chapek should focus on in the near future? Let us know in the comment sections below.