Bob Iger, who has been the Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company since 2005, announced his retirement Tuesday, effective immediately.
“With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Iger said in a statement.
Iger will be replaced by Bob Chapek, who is to become the seventh CEO in Disney history. Before his promotion, Chapek was the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products and had been working for the company for nearly 27 years. He also served as the president of distribution for Walt Disney Studios.
"I am incredibly honored and humbled to assume the role of CEO of what I truly believe is the greatest company in the world," Chapek said in the release. "Bob Iger has built Disney into the most admired and successful media and entertainment company, and I have been lucky to enjoy a front-row seat as a member of his leadership team."
Chapek also supervised the opening of the first Disney Park in mainland China, the Shanghai Disney Resort, and the Star Wars Galaxy Edge attraction at Disneyland. Chapek said he hopes to follow in Iger’s footsteps and continue a trend of success.
“Right now the course that Bob has laid is one that we fully intend to follow and I think will pay dividends to shareholders for years to come,” Chapek said in a CNBC interview.
Under Iger’s helm, Disney went through a period of mass acquisitions, obtaining brands like Marvel, ABC, Pixar, Lucasfilms, and 21st Century Fox. With these acquisitions, Iger spearheaded the release of Disney+ and helped contribute exclusive series into the content library of the streaming service.
Iger has been hinting about his retirement since 2019, according to CNBC. He was originally supposed to retire in 2018, but Disney extended his contract until 2021.
“I’ve been CEO since October 2005 and as I’ve said many times, there’s a time for everything,” Iger told Disney investors in 2019. “2021 will be time for me to finally step down.”