In a seismic shock to Hollywood, former longtime Disney chief Robert Iger will return to lead the entertainment giant, the Disney board announced Sunday night.
“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.”
The move comes four months after the board gave Chapek three more years atop the company, citing strong leadership during the pandemic.
Chapek’s leadership has come under scrutiny after a series of missteps, including a legal battle with star Scarlett Johansson and more recently a public spat with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, which prompted the governor to target laws that favor Disney’s business in the state.
Nonetheless, Disney’s streaming service has thrived despite intense competition.
In 2020, Iger stepped down as chief executive of Disney after 15 years in the job.
Iger made his mark on the company with several key gambles. In 2006, Iger led Disney to buy Pixar Animation Studios from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in order to rescue Disney’s flagging animation business.
That was followed by the 2009 deal to purchase Marvel Entertainment, which has resulted in a virtually unbroken streak of box office winners produced by Kevin Feige. In 2012, Disney bought Lucasfilm from George Lucas and relaunched the “Star Wars” film franchise with a new trilogy.
This is a developing story