Bob Iger to Return as CEO of the Walt Disney Company

In a surprise announcement this evening, Sunday, November 20, 2022, the Walt Disney Company has published a statement on the transition of its CEO from Bob Chapek, back to Bob Iger.


(Iger -left, Chapek – right) Credit: Disney

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According to a report from CNBC, Bob Chapek announced that he will be stepping down from the position of CEO of the Walt Disney Company, and after accepting an invitation to return from the company’s board of directors, former CEO Bob Iger will be reinstated, effective immediately.

D23 shared the initial details of Iger’s return:

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.

Susan Arnold, Chairman of the Board for the Walt Disney Company shared:

We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. 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.

Bob Iger

Credit: Disney

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Susan Arnold will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board, and no other announcements have been made regarding other top executive positions.

Alongside the official release from Disney, Iger sent an email to Disney Cast Members alerting them of the news and sharing his excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to return:

Bob Chapek’s time as CEO has been marked with controversy, from taking over leadership of the company at the onset of the pandemic bringing with it new challenges never before experienced in Disney’s nearly 100-year history, to mishandling Florida politics (in terms of the Parental Rights in Education / “Don’t Say Gay Bill”) and an ongoing feud with Governor Ron DeSantis.

Recently, Chapek has continued to stress the company’s focus on its streaming services, and the ways in which Disney hopes to bridge the experiences consumers have at home with streaming products and those in the theme parks.

Bob Iger, who served as CEO for 15 years from 2005-2020 left behind a legacy that included the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox, and for theme park fans, such monumental projects as Pandora: World of Avatar, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and Toy Story Land, at the Walt Disney World Resort just to name a few.

We will continue to monitor updates to this shift in leadership at the Walt Disney Company, and will be back with additional information as we have it here on Disney Tips.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."