The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) Board of Directors announced today that Bob Chapek has been named Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company, effective immediately. Mr. Chapek most recently served as Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Robert A. Iger assumes the role of Executive Chairman and will direct the Company’s creative endeavors, while leading the Board and providing the full benefit of his experience, leadership and guidance to ensure a smooth and successful transition through the end of his contract on Dec. 31, 2021.
During a call with Wall Street analysts Tuesday, Iger said that the Disney board had identified Chapek as his potential successor “quite some time ago.” Iger added that the succession plan “was not accelerated for any particular reason, other than we thought the need was now to make this change.”
Interesting thought, and we have to wonder why now. Much has happened in the past very few months, from the launch of Disney+ streaming service, to the opening of the Star Wars “Galaxy’s Edge” attractions, to another armful of Oscars at the most recent Academy Awards, including the studio’s 13th win in the Animated Feature category, Toy Story 4. Disney’s classic storytelling style continues to succeed in the 21st Century, with such features as FROZEN, plus the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Twenty-First Century Fox.
Looking at other news of the day: the coronavirus epidemic in China has closed cinemas for the foreseeable future, which is likely to delay the March 27 premiere of Mulan in her native land. Disney stock fell 2% after Iger’s announcement, but compared with the more than 6% fall of the Dow Jones Average this week, that could be better than it looks.
The other showbiz story of the day was what we hope to be unrelated, was the NY convictions in the Harvey Weinstein case, which is likely to cast ripples throughout the entertainment industry power structure.
Who is Bob Chapek?
Bob Chapek has been with the Walt Disney Company since 1993, in varied executive roles such as film distribution and home entertainment. He was appointed president of Disney Consumer Products in September 2011. In 2015, Chapek was named chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and supervised new locations such as Shanghai Disneyland, and major new attractions at existing locations such as Galaxy’s Edge and the expansion of Disney Cruise Lines. Chapek will be only the seventh chief executive to head the company since its founding in 1923.
SCIFI.radio wishes Mr. Chapek success in his new role, happily ever after.