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Here's Why Disney CEO Bob Iger Is Time's Businessperson Of The Year

Here's Why Disney CEO Bob Iger Is Time's Businessperson Of The Year

After a magical two-decade tenure at Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS), CEO Bob Iger earned his wings. This week, Time named Iger its 2019 businessperson of the year.

Why It’s Deserved

In the last year, Iger grew Disney’s production, distribution and financial capacity with various developments and acquisitions.

First, he led Disney to acquire Twenty-First Century Fox to secure National Geographic, FX and the remaining stake in Hulu, among other assets.

Then, he helped Disney seize more than $10 billion in global box office sales from “Avengers: Endgame,” “Frozen 2,” “The Lion King,” “Toy Story 4,” “Aladdin,” “Dumbo,” and “Captain Marvel.” And the year’s not even over. “Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker” debuts Dec. 20 and is expected to rake in cash.

Most recently, Iger helped launch the market-stirring Disney+, which brought the world baby Yoda in “The Mandalorian” and various other originals.

These developments pushed Disney’s stock to all-time highs. Dsiney's stock traded around $147 per share with a market cap of $265.8 billion.

A Long-Time Value Add

The feats of 2019 aren’t anomalous.

“Iger’s tenure as the leader of the world’s most lucrative dream factory has been one long CEO highlight reel,” Time wrote. “But 2019 was an apex year, when many of his carefully incubated eggs hatched.”

Big bet-taking — and subsequent payoffs — have become a theme of Iger’s leadership. Over the last few years, he has grown the company from a parks and kids-show story to a multi-plot epic.

As CEO, he bolstered Disney’s content inventory with purchases of Pixar, Marvel and the Star Wars franchise, and he increased Disney’s distribution platforms with ESPN+ and the incremental seizure of Hulu. Before that, as COO, he helped acquire the Muppets and the channel now known as Freeform.

He also led Disney to expand its theme park portfolio with the opening of Hong Kong and Shanghai resorts.

And he’s been a value-add from the very start. Prior to joining Disney, he led ABC Television and helped orchestrate the Disney-ABC-ESPN merger.

Iger’s recognition came not a moment too soon. The prolific leader has just two years left at Disney. He announced in April that he would step down as CEO and chairman at the end of 2021 when his contract expires.

Related Links:

Cramer Praises Bob Iger On Historic Day For Disney+, Stock

Disney Trades Higher On Q4 Earnings Beat; Iger Announces Distribution Deal With Amazon

Photo Courtesy of MasterClass


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