The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) Board of Directors announced that Robert A. Iger is stepping down from his position as CEO after 15 years, effective immediately, and the Company’s shares started tumbling.
“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,” Robert Iger said, declaring the transition without providing any further reasons, besides the perfect timing.
The announcement caused a 3.6% sell-off in shares of The Walt Disney Company yesterday and shares continued to decline 1.2% in today’s pre-market trading.
Iger’s successor is Bob Chapek, former Chair of Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Products segment, who joined the Company in 1993 and therefore worked for the entertainment giant for 27 years.
Robert Iger assumes the role of Executive Chairman and will direct Disney’s creative endeavors, and lead the board, until the end of his contract on December 31, 2021.
Iger, the former CEO, continued: “I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney’s multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the Company’s creative endeavors.”
Bob Chapek stated: “I am incredibly honored and humbled to assume the role of CEO of what I truly believe is the greatest company in the world, and to lead our exceptionally talented and dedicated cast members and employees.”
One of the main challenges Chapek will have to face in his new role, is highly connected to his old one and has to do with the Shanghai and Hong Kong Disney parks, which have been shut down for over a month and continue to be so until the COVID-19 coronavirus is under control.
The newly appointed CEO added: “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.”