The Walt Disney Company announced late Sunday that former Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger will return to his position for two years, effective immediately, less than a year after he retired.
In a press release, the Walt Disney Company Board Of Directors said that Iger, who spent more than 40 years at the company and served as Disney CEO for 15 years, will replace successor Bob Chapek, who has stepped down from the role.
The Board Of Directors said that Iger will “set the strategic direction for renewed growth” at the company and will work closely with the board in “developing a successor to lead the company at the completion of his term.”
Iger retired as head of Hollywood’s most powerful studio in December last year.
Chapek, who previously served as the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, took over as Disney CEO in February 2020. He has led the company for the last 33 months.
Sunday’s announcement came just months after the Disney board in June voted unanimously to extend Chapek’s contract for three years, marking a significant u-turn.
It also comes after Disney posted disappointing results for its fiscal fourth quarter, showing declining advertising sales and added costs for streaming programming.
While the company saw an increase in streaming customers from July through September, beating analysts’ expectations, it also reported lower-than-expected revenue of $20.15 billion in the quarter. Analysts had estimated revenue of $21.24 billion.
Disney Going Through ‘Pivotal Period’
Elsewhere, the company’s direct-to-consumer unit saw operating losses increase to $1.5 billion, which the company said was due to “a higher loss at Disney+ and a decrease in results at Hulu, partially offset by improved results at ESPN+.”
Shares of Disney have fallen more than 40 percent this year.
Susan Arnold, chairwoman of the Disney Board, noted on Sunday that Chapek has steered the company through the COVID-19 pandemic but that the entertainment giant was now embarking on a period of “transformation.”
“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” Arnold said. “The Board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the company through this pivotal period.”
Disney announced earlier this month that it would freeze hiring, cut jobs, and reduce executive expenses amid a volatile economy and growing fears of a recession.
Business travel will also be limited to essential trips among executive staff and meetings will be conducted virtually whenever possible to trim costs, according to reports.
In a statement on Sunday, Iger said that he was “extremely optimistic for the future” of Disney and “thrilled to be asked by the board to return as its CEO.”
“Disney and its incomparable brands and franchises hold a special place in the hearts of so many people around the globe—most especially in the hearts of our employees, whose dedication to this company and its mission is an inspiration,” Iger said.
“I am deeply honored to be asked to again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling.”
From The Epoch Times