Disney brings back Bob Iger as CEO

STORY: The top spot at one of the world’s biggest entertainment companies is being turned back over to its old CEO.

The Walt Disney Company said Sunday (November 20) that Bob Chapek is stepping down and his predecessor – Bob Iger – will be back as CEO.

It was a shock announcement, as Iger had announced retirement less than a year ago, and in June, Disney’s board had unanimously agreed to extend Chapek’s contract for three more years.

The chair of the board, Susan Arnold, said Sunday 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.”

Chapek steered Disney through the global health crisism but the company recently posted a disappointing earnings report that showed continued losses at its streaming unit, which includes Disney+.

And under his tenure, Disney became embroiled in an internal culture war, after being accused of remaining silent on the controversial Florida legislation, nicknamed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill by opponents, that would limit classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity.

And while Bob Iger had left two years ago on a high note, having led the fight against Netflix with the launch of Disney+, one company source told Reuters the latest leadership change had caught employees by surprise.