Bob Iger returns as Disney CEO

In a statement released on Sunday evening, Disney announced that Bob Iger would be returning as CEO immediately. This comes as a surprise to many, as Iger had previously hand-picked Bob Chapek to take his place. However, Chapek has come under scrutiny recently for the way he has been running the company.

This news comes at a time when the entertainment company is trying to calm investors and increase profits in its streaming media unit.

Disney has announced that Bob Iger will return as CEO, effective immediately. He replaced Bob Chapek who took over as CEO in February 2020 but couldn’t handle the COVID-19 pandemic which led to park closures and visitor restrictions.

Analysts say that what Disney needs right now is an experienced leader at the helm. The company has been spending billions to compete with Netflix and its share price has suffered as a result. Neil Wilson, from said “Maybe the old hand on the tiller is what’s required.”

So far this year, the stock has fallen more than 40% behind the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is only down 7%. Chapek was in charge when almost a third of its value disappeared.

According to Chairwoman Susan Arnold’s statement-

“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.”

Disney investors were unhappy with the company’s earnings report from this past month. The streaming media unit, which includes Disney+, is continuing to show mounting losses. In response, shares hit a 20-year low just the day after the fourth-quarter results were released.

In the quarter, the streaming business lost about $1.5 billion, more than increasing from last year’s loss by 100%. This covered up the subscriber gains; however, since Disney+’s 2019 launch, it has yet to turn a profit. According to projections, though, Disney expects Disney+ to become profitable in 2024.

In a memo to employees seen by reuters, Iger said:

“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.”

Iger left Disney previously on a high note as the company led the charge against Netflix in the streaming wars.

Disney had made several key acquisitions during his tenure, including Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Entertainment, and 21st Century Fox. As a result, Disney’s market capitalization had increased five-fold.

Under his first leadership, annualized shareholder returns were more than 14%, beating competitor Comcast and the stock market average. In his second tour, Iger’s goal is to help Disney grow again and work with the board to identify a new company leader, says the company.

Upon Iger’s return announcement, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings took to Twitter with visible disappointment, writing: “Ugh. I had been hoping Iger would run for President. He is amazing.”

With Bob Iger at the helm, Disney’s future looks bright once again. It looks like Disney is in good hands. Only time will tell if Iger is the one to lead Disney back to prosperity and success in the streaming wars. We wish him all the best!

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