Disney’s Iger to step down in 2026, says Chapek’s tenure was ‘disappointing’

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Disney CEO Bob Iger says this go-round running the media giant will be his last when he steps down in 2026. 

“I’m definitely yes. So you could take given the list of things you have to do now. We’re attacking each one of them. I’m confident we will do so successfully,” Iger said during an interview at the New York Times Dealbook conference on Wednesday when asked if his tenure will end in two years. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
DIS THE WALT DISNEY CO. 92.53 +0.03 +0.03%

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Last November, Iger returned to Disney, replacing then CEO Bob Chapek, who was forced out after a tumultuous stint that was mired by an ugly and public battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. This created both internal and external controversies for the company and its rank-and-file employees. Reportedly, high-level executives with long tenures under Iger, frustrated with Chapek, begged for him to come out of retirement, and he did. 

Iger himself admitted he was uneasy watching Chapek’s tenure go off the rails quickly. 

“I was disappointed in what I was seeing, both during the transition period when I was still there and while I was out. But I really worked hard at distancing myself from it because I couldn’t do anything about it. In a way, it wasn’t my business at all, really. It was his business to run”, he said during the interview. 

“Again, I was not happy with what I was seeing. I worked hard to build the company into what it was over that period, a long period of time. I was proud of those accomplishments. It hurts when something that you’ve put your heart and soul into and you care about so much is going through a difficult time”, he explained. 

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Disney CEO Bob Iger, NYT Dealbook

Once back in the saddle, Iger said he’s been doing a clean-up. 

“I’ve spent a year since I came back fixing a lot of problems that the company has had and dealing with a lot of challenges, some that were brought on by decisions that were made by my predecessor, some that are just basically the result of a tremendous amount of disruption in the world and in our business,” he added. 

Disney’s stock is up 6.5% this year through Wednesday, trailing the S&P 500’s 18.5% rally. A string of recent films, including “Wish,” Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” “The Little Mermaid,” Pixar’s “Elemental,” “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” and “Haunted Mansion” have been viewed as underperforming at the box office this year, which Iger acknowledged. 

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Last summer, Iger hinted that he was evaluating assets that may not be core to the company, such as EPSN. On Wednesday he clarified his current thinking, as these businesses are being re-evaluated with the help of the executives at the helm. 

“We’ve determined a few things. One, that they can be run more efficiently with some difficult choices. You mentioned cutting over $7 billion in cost. We can do that. Second, they can be run in partnership with those businesses that sit atop the new business model, which is streaming and there are means of aggregating audience of amortizing, of basically aggregating, not just reaching more and different people” he said, adding potential divestures are still part of the review. 

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Earlier this year, Disney announced it was eliminating 7,000 positions that took place in three increments.  

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