The former CEO — who stepped down just two years ago — is returning to replace his successor Bob Chapek, Disney announced Sunday night.
Chapek had a challenging two years at Disney navigating the changing industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with board chair Susan Arnold thanking him for his dedication and leadership during his tenure.
Speaking on behalf of the Board, Arnold stated, “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.”
The official company announcement explained the return stems from “a mandate from the Board to set the strategic direction for renewed growth and to work closely with the Board in developing a successor to lead the Company at the completion of his term.”
Many people are excited for Iger to return, as the businessman has an impressive resume at the Mouse House.
First coming to Disney in 2005 as the fifth CEO, Iger held the position for 15 years and in his time acquired Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel, as well as Fox’s entertainment business. He also launched Disney’s streaming service, Disney+. One of Iger’s biggest challenges in the coming years will be to try and make Disney+ profitable.
“I am extremely optimistic for the future of this great company and thrilled to be asked by the Board to return as its CEO,” he said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
Chapek was not as popular in the industry, as he initiated a lot of cost-cutting measures and was known to be blunt towards talent. Disney’s theme parks also saw price increases across the board, making regular attendees upset. Chapek additionally burned bridges with Scarlett Johansson thanks to her lawsuit about lack of compensation for “Black Widow,” once the film was released in theaters and Disney+ as a $30 rental simultaneously.
He also faced backlash for not using Disney’s influence to fight against the Florida Republican “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which outlawed grade school teachers from instructing about the LGBTQ+ community.