Disney CEO Bob Chapek Not Appearing At Destination D23 Amid Petition For Removal: Here's The Details

The leader of media giant Walt Disney Co DIS will no longer speak at a top company event, a move that is coming as the CEO faces backlash.

What Happened: On Feb. 25, 2020, Bob Chapek was named the CEO of Disney, replacing Bob Iger. Chapek has guided the company through a global pandemic and helped boost the share price of Disney along the way.

Many are unhappy with Chapek and the way he has prioritized profits over people, which prompted a fan petition on Change.org.

Disney fans have not been as welcoming to Chapek as shareholders. A change to the FastPass service at Disney Parks was criticized by fans and frequent park-goers. Disney also faced criticism over salary disputes with Scarlett Johansson and others over the handling of movies launching on Disney+ at the same time as theaters.

The petition called “Fire Disney CEO Bob Chapek” has 75,058 signatures at the time of writing, passing a milestone of “top signed status” at 75,000. The petition could hit a milestone of “top signed” if it reaches 150,000 signatures.

“He has consistently made decisions that decrease the quality of what is put into the parks, and also ones that favor using intellectual properties instead of original attractions. He consistently put himself and money above the product, and quality of the company,” the petition says of Chapek.

The petition criticizes budget cuts made by the CEO that happened even prior to the pandemic. Disney executive salaries were reinstated recently after more than 28,000 employees have been laid off, the petition said.

“And now he is moving the focus to Disney Plus, the current big moneymaker, instead of keeping the parks at high quality. Normally you would think to keep the quality of the parks during a time of decreased revenue, but he is concerned about what will make him the most money quickest.”

As to who should replace the CEO, the petition highlights the current leader of the Parks and Resorts segment, Josh D’Amaro.

The petition says D’Amaro has been involved with guests and employees of the park segment.

“Chapek has proven he doesn’t care about the quality and legacy of Disney.”

Price Action: Walt Disney Q4 Highlights: 118.1M Disney+ Subs, Lower ARPU, Parks, Resorts Segment Up 99%

Why It’s Important: As the petition heats up, Chapek is now a notable non-attendee of an upcoming Disney event.

Destination D23 2021, which will celebrate 50 years of the Walt Disney World Resort and other Disney segments, will be held Friday, Nov. 19 through Sunday, Nov. 21.

Chapek will not attend the event due to a scheduling conflict. He was previously listed as the kickoff speaker for the event.

“Bob has a conflict in LA on Friday night and couldn’t make it back to Orlando on time,” Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler told Inside the Magic.

Chapek appeared on the D23 podcast Inside Disney and addressed his scheduling conflict.

“Unfortunately this year, given the new job and given the tugs I get from several different areas, it’s impossible for me to make it, but I will be there in spirit,” Chapek said.

The dates for Destination D23 2021 have been known for some time, which makes the scheduling conflict a bit questionable. This is likely a non-issue, but bears watching as public sentiment for Chapek continues to turn.

Disney may need to find a balance to reward shareholders and keep favorable relations with its loyal park guests.

DIS Price Action: Disney shares are down 1.24% to $155.33 on Thursday afternoon at publication. Disney shares are down 31% from their year high of $203.02 and now trading down 13% year-to-date. Since Chapek took over as CEO, shares are up 15% in 21 months.

Photo: Courtesy Walt Disney Co.


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Posted In: NewsManagementTrading IdeasBob ChapekBob IgerChange.orgD23DIsney ParksDisney PlusDisney WorldDisney+
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