The CEO of the House of Mouse and his predecessor reportedly had an intense falling out. Here’s what led to the division between the two executives.
What Happened: Since taking over as the CEO of Walt Disney Co DIS, Bob Chapek has distanced himself from former boss Bob Iger.
It was announced in February 2020 that Chapek would succeed Iger, who ran Disney from 2005 to 2020.
“I can’t think of a better person to succeed me in this role,” Iger said of Chapek at the time of the announcement.
An interview a month later with the New York Times could have caused a huge rift between the two Disney leaders, according to a new CNBC report.
“A crisis of this magnitude, and its impact on Disney would necessarily result in my actively helping Bob (Chapek) and the company contend with it, particularly since I ran the company for 15 years!” Iger said.
Upon reading the comments, Chapek was said to be “furious” and believed the comments from Iger suggested he was postponing his retirement once again after already previously delaying on several occasions.
The division between Chapek and Iger led to the board naming Chapek to the board and potentially to Iger stepping away at the end of 2021 as a member of the board.
After the comments and anger from Chapek, the two Disney executives are said to have barely spoke to each other.
A “going away” party for Iger featured little interaction between Iger and Chapek and guests recall it as being awkward.
Why It’s Important: Iger was well loved by those in the entertainment industry and also most shareholders thanks to powering Disney shares higher and leading the company through acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.
Chapek has faced several controversies while leading Disney, including the handling of employee relations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the handling of Scarlett Johansson’s pay for “Black Widow,” changes to the Disney Parks expedited lines and recently the CEO's response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The controversies and new changes at the theme parks led to a petition calling for the firing of the Disney CEO. The petition has over 110,000 signatures and argues that Chapek has prioritized profits over people.
Outside of the petition, some have also pushed for Iger to return to lead Disney if Chapek is fired.
“Well, that’s ridiculous. I was CEO for a long time. You can’t go home again. I’m gone,” Iger told the New York Times.
The new revelations on Chapek potentially pushing Iger out of Disney earlier than expected and away from the Board of Directors could lead to additional calls for Chapek to be shown the door.
Shares of Disney are up 2.9% since Feb. 25, 2020, the day Chapek took the helm of the company.
DIS Price Action: Disney shares are down 1.35% to $138.40 Monday afternoon.
© 2023 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.