Walt Disney Company appoints Bob Chapek as CEO

Bob Chapek & Robert A. Iger. Pic: The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company has appointed Bob Chapek as chief executive officer. Chapek earlier served as chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. In his new role, he will directly oversee all of the company’s business segments and corporate functions. Robert A Iger becomes the executive chairman and will direct the company’s creative endeavours.

Chapek will report to the executive chairman, Iger, and the board of directors. He will be appointed to the board at a later date. A new head of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products will be named at a future time.

Chapek served as chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products since the segment’s creation in 2018, and prior to that was chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts since 2015. Before joining Disney in 1993, Chapek worked in brand management at H J Heinz Company and in advertising at J Walter Thompson. He earned a BS in Microbiology at Indiana University Bloomington and an MBA from Michigan State University.

Iger will leading the board and provide the full benefit of his experience, leadership and guidance to ensure a smooth and successful transition through the end of his contract on December 31, 2021.

“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,” Iger said. “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 endeavours.”

Iger added: “Bob will be the seventh CEO in Disney’s nearly 100-year history, and he has proven himself exceptionally qualified to lead the company into its next century. Throughout his career, Bob has led with integrity and conviction, always respecting Disney’s rich legacy while at the same time taking smart, innovative risks for the future. His success over the past 27 years reflects his visionary leadership and the strong business growth and stellar results he has consistently achieved in his roles at parks, consumer products and the studio. Under Bob’s leadership as CEO, our portfolio of great businesses and our amazing and talented people will continue to serve the company and its shareholders well for years to come.”

“I am incredibly honoured 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,” Chapek said. “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. I share his commitment to creative excellence, technological innovation and international expansion, and I will continue to embrace these same strategic pillars going forward. Everything we have achieved thus far serves as a solid foundation for further creative storytelling, bold innovation and thoughtful risk-taking.”

Susan Arnold, independent lead director of the Disney Board, said, “The board has been actively engaged in succession planning for the past several years, and after consideration of internal and external candidates, we unanimously elected Bob Chapek as the next CEO of The Walt Disney Company. Chapek has shown outstanding leadership and a proven ability to deliver strong results across a wide array of businesses, and his tremendous understanding of the breadth and depth of the company and appreciation for the special connection between Disney and its consumers makes him the perfect choice as the next CEO.