Former Walt Disney Company DIS CEO Bob Iger was behind many of the biggest moves of the media company of the last two decades with acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Fox and Lucasfilm. Although, one of the biggest moves made that Iger regrets is the decision to name current Disney CEO Bob Chapek as his successor.
What Happened: In normal circumstances, things might have been different for Iger, who led Disney from 2005 to 2020, and announced he was retiring and would transition to chairman of the company, a move that surprised some.
While Iger thought he could spend his final year as CEO on a global goodbye tour and a chance to mentor his replacement Chapek, he instead had to navigate his company’s place during a global pandemic and steer a ship that had two people fighting for control of the wheel in Iger and Chapek.
According to a new report from Business Insider, Iger regrets naming Chapek as his successor as CEO of Disney and called it one of his worst business decisions ever.
Iger wanted to mentor Chapek and have a strong handoff after a year. Instead, the duo clashed over many decisions made for the direction of the company.
A press release naming Chapek as the successor said the new CEO would report to Iger, the chairman of the company. Over time, Chapek was said to have hated this lack of trust as CEO and began making his own decisions.
Iger differed with Chapek on the handling of the company during the COVID-19 pandemic, company structure, politics and the handling of a contract dispute over the “Black Widow” movie.
A fight for control over the company saw Iger end his term as chairman earlier than expected. Iger reportedly tried to lobby the board of directors to keep him in command over Chapek.
Why It’s Important: Iger helped guide Disney through one of its most important phases of growth with the acquisition of several key media companies like Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Fox. Shares of Disney enjoyed a strong return, and the market capitalization of Disney increased over 400%.
Now looking back, Iger said he would have never stepped down if he knew how bad the pandemic would be, according to a former Disney executive. The executive said Iger believes Chapek is arrogant and uninterested in other people’s opinions.
Iger was reported to have felt pressure to name a successor as CEO and was tired of being harassed for a succession plan.
Former Disney CEO Iger is still rooting for the company to win, something that shareholders may be happy to hear.
Under the time of Iger's leadership, Disney shares returned an annual average of 25.5%.
Since Chapek took over as CEO in February 2020, Disney shares are now down 57.6%.
DIS Price Action: Disney shares closed at $94.80 on Friday, versus a 52-week range of $90.23 to $187.57.
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