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Disney Shakeup: Bob Chapek Fired! Bob Iger Is Back As Disney CEO

In a shocking turn of events at The Walt Disney Company, Bob Ckapek has been given the boot after only a short tenure marked by controversy and mis-steps, and former CEO Bob Iger brought back to the company in a role he only recently left.

The shakeup at Disney was confirmed by the board of directors late Sunday evening, November 20, and caught Hollywoody, Wall Street, and Disney fans by surprise,

There had been rumours of a shakeup, and Bob Iger's return, but the prospect of Iger returning as CEO still seemed pretty much far-fetched.

Bob Iger served as Disney chief executive for 15 years, before handpicking Bob Chakek as his successor.

The two ultimately had a falling out, and their conflict cast a shadow over the company’s future. Chapek distanced himself from Iger with a series of decisions, including his new approach to streaming prices for Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+.

Now, it will no doubt be a kick in the teeth to Chapek that after a rocky tenure that lasted only 33 months. his replacement is his former boss Iger, who had previously said he wouldn’t return to the role.

Iger has signed on to work as CEO for two years, to steady the company, and to find a worthy successor to lead the Company at the completion of his term.

Iger is a widely respected and liked figure at Disney. He oversaw its deals to acquire Pixar, Lucasfilm and its “Star Wars” properties, and Marvel – all of which have become multi-billion-dollar intellectual property behemoths.

When news broke of Chapek's firing at around 6:45 pm PST, 9.45 pm ET., it came as a shock to even senior Disney executives, industry sources said.

Disney staff learned of the stunning news in the press release emailed by Disney’s corporate communications team, with many believing that it was phishing scam or internet hoax.

When news broke, many Disney leaders found out as they were attending the Dodger Stadium for Elton John’s farewell show, which was aired as a live stream event on Disney+, plus many more Disney executives were in Hollywood for a live broadcast of the American Music Awards.

Chapek’s firing comes on the back of a third-quarter earnings report that shocked Wall Street as spending on content and marketing for Disney’s direct-to-consumer platforms hit its projected peak of $1.5 billion in fiscal 2022.

Shares fell well below the $100 mark, to $90, on Nov. 9, the day after Disney’s after-market earnings report.

With huge concerns that Disney's streaming service was costing the company too much money in its fight for subscribers, with losses in Disney+ topping $1.5 billion, Disney’s stock price has continued to plummet, falling over 40% this year.

It's not just been financial woes that have dogged Chapek recently, he has been embroiled in controversy over LGBT+ rights here in Florida, angering employees with his initial silence about the “Don’t Say Gay” law in Florida.

He then got himself into a nasty fight with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, which has resulted in Chapek upsetting the entire LGBT+ community, and DeSantis waging a war against the company in Florida by starting the process of ripping apart the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

Despite all these difficulties, the board showed confidence in Chapek by actually renewing his contract in the summer, making this weekends turn of events even more surprising!

 BoChapek Fired! Bob Iger Returning As Disney CEO

The news was shared in an email to Disney employees from Bob Iger:

"It is with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility -and, I must admit, a bit of amazement -that I write to you this evening with the news that I am returning to The Walt Disney Company as Chief Executive Officer."

"When I look at the creative success of our teams across our Studios, Disney General Entertainment, ESPN and International, the rapid growth of our streaming services, the phenomenal reimagining and rebound of our Parks, the continued great work of ABC News, and so many other achievements across our businesses, I am in awe of your accomplishments and I am excited to embark with you on many new endeavors."

"I know this company has asked so much of you during the past three years, and these times certainly remain quite challenging, but as you have heard me say before, I am an optimist, and if I learned one thing from my years at Disney, it is that even in the face of uncertainty -perhaps especially in the face of uncertainty -our employees and Cast Members achieve the impossible."

"You will be hearing more from me and your leaders tomorrow and in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, allow me to express my deep gratitude for all that you do. Disney holds a special place in the hearts of people around the globe thanks to you, and your dedication to this company and its mission to bring joy to people through great storytelling is an inspiration to me every single day." Bob Iger.

Bob Chapel Fired As CEO of Disney Bob Iger Returns

Here is the statement from the Walt Disney Company:

“The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) announced today that Robert A. Iger is returning to lead Disney as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Iger, who spent more than four decades at the Company, including 15 years as its CEO, has agreed to serve as Disney’s CEO for two years, with a mandate from the Board to set the strategic direction for renewed growth and to work closely with the Board in developing a successor to lead the Company at the completion of his term. Mr. Iger succeeds Bob Chapek, who has stepped down from his position."

"We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,’ said Susan Arnold, Chairman of the Board. ‘The Board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the Company through this pivotal period."

"Mr. Iger has the deep respect of Disney’s senior leadership team, most of whom he worked closely with until his departure as executive chairman 11 months ago, and he is greatly admired by Disney employees worldwide–all of which will allow for a seamless transition of leadership,’ she said."

"The position of Chairman of the Board remains unchanged, with Ms. Arnold serving in that capacity."

"I am extremely optimistic for the future of this great company and thrilled to be asked by the Board to return as its CEO,’ Mr. Iger said. “Disney and its incomparable brands and franchises hold a special place in the hearts of so many people around the globe—most especially in the hearts of our employees, whose dedication to this company and its mission is an inspiration. I am deeply honored to be asked to again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling."

"During his 15 years as CEO, from 2005 to 2020, Mr. Iger helped build Disney into one of the world’s most successful and admired media and entertainment companies with a strategic vision focused on creative excellence, technological innovation and international growth. He expanded on Disney’s legacy of unparalleled storytelling with the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox and increased the Company’s market capitalization fivefold during his time as CEO. Mr. Iger continued to direct Disney’s creative endeavors until his departure as Executive Chairman last December, and the Company’s robust pipeline of content is a testament to his leadership and vision.”

Bob Chapel Fired As CEO of Disney aS Bob Iger returns to Disney as CEO

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