Bob Iger Voices Disappointment in Disney’s Decisions Under Chapek’s Leadership

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In a candid revelation, Bob Iger, the former and current CEO of Disney, expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of the company under Bob Chapek’s leadership since his return. Speaking at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit, Iger revealed disappointment during the transition period and his effort to distance himself from the observed shortcomings. He admitted to actively working on addressing problems within Disney during Chapek’s tenure and his own return.

Iger emphasized that the CEO succession planning at Disney is currently robust, confirming his definite exit as chief executive when his extended contract concludes by the end of 2026.

Upon his return, Iger cited the task of addressing several issues within Disney that were partly attributable to prior decisions and, on the other hand, stemmed from the substantial disruptions in the global business landscape.

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Regarding Disney’s decision to withdraw advertising from X (previously Twitter) after Elon Musk’s controversial statements, Iger mentioned his respect for Musk but highlighted that Disney’s association with Musk and X/Twitter wasn’t perceived as beneficial due to Musk’s public stance on certain issues.

Disputing reports about selling Disney’s linear TV businesses, Iger clarified that while the company constantly evaluates their value, there’s no intent to divest these assets. He stressed the importance of adapting the linear TV model to the streaming business, indicating efforts by senior executives Dana Walden and Jimmy Pitaro in enhancing efficiency within their divisions.

Iger, who resumed the role of interim CEO after Chapek’s ouster in 2022, dismantled the Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED) division, aiming to restore decision-making autonomy to creative teams and streamline costs.

Highlighting the financial challenges faced by Disney, Iger acknowledged the need to balance content spending and monetization, signaling the company’s intent to be more discerning about content investments given escalating production costs. As part of cost-cutting measures, Disney eliminated over 8,000 jobs this year, aiming to reduce spending by $5.5 billion.

During a town hall meeting at New York’s New Amsterdam Theatre, Iger acknowledged the myriad challenges he confronted upon returning to Disney but affirmed his satisfaction with the decision, asserting that being back feels great.