Although he has announced and then delayed his departure four times as Disney's chief executive, Bob Iger took markets, and employees, by surprise when he stepped down from the job with immediate1
effect. After taking the reins2
in 2005 Mr Iger expanded Disney's content catalogue by acquiring several film studios (culminating in 21st Century Fox last year), turning Disney into an entertainment behemoth. Mr Iger is staying on as executive chairman until 2021 to focus on the creative side of the business. Bob Chapek, the new ceo, fresh from running Disney's theme parks, will report to Mr Iger.
"With the successful launch of Disney's direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration3
of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal4
time to transition to a new CEO," Iger said in a statement.
During his more than 15 years as CEO, Iger successfully negotiated a number of important acquisitions, including Pixar, Marvel5
, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox, that transformed the already powerful media company into a industry behemoth. The $7.4 billion Pixar deal, inked in 2006, brought late Apple co-founder and majority Pixar stakeholder Steve Jobs into the fold as Disney's largest private shareholder6
What started as a tumultuous relationship with Jobs quickly transformed into a partnership7
ever closer ties between Disney and Apple. It was Iger, with Jobs' cajoling, who agreed to distribute ABC programming through the iTunes store, a major win for Apple's digital services arm.