Though Iger had said time and again that his return would only be for a two-year stint since he came back to Disney in November, leading to more questions about a successor, he’ll have an additional two years to accomplish and solve the problems for which he was brought back to fix in the first place.
“Time and again, Bob has shown an unparalleled ability to successfully transform Disney to drive future growth and financial returns, earning him a reputation as one of the world’s best CEOs,” Mark G. Parker, chairman, The Walt Disney Company, said in a statement. “Bob has once again set Disney on the right strategic path for ongoing value creation, and to ensure the successful completion of this transformation while also allowing ample time to position a new CEO for long-term success, the Board determined it is in the best interest of shareholders to extend his tenure, and he has agreed to our request to remain Chief Executive Officer through the end of 2026.”
Iger’s contract extension keeps him onboard as CEO through that time — not as a consultant or chairman or other title. And as of now, no successor for Iger has been selected, though the Disney board has a committee to find the next person for the job.
“Because I want to ensure Disney is strongly positioned when my successor takes the helm, I have agreed to the Board’s request to remain CEO for an additional two years,” Iger added in a statement. “The importance of the succession process cannot be overstated, and as the Board continues to evaluate a highly qualified slate of internal and external candidates, I remain intensely focused on a successful transition.”
Iger’s shocking return as CEO back in November 2022 and the ouster of Bob Chapek came after the company suffered a $1.5 billion loss in its direct-to-consumer (streaming) division for its fiscal fourth quarter. In the time since he’s returned, Iger has aggressively cut costs, including laying off 7,000 Disney employees and restructuring the company from the format established under Chapek, including dismantling the DMED division, or Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, the company’s tech and product team.
Iger also installed Dana Walden (considered by analysts and industry types as an internal candidate for the next CEO) and Alan Bergman as the new heads of Disney General Entertainment and separated their business from Disney’s theme parks and from ESPN. He’s also announced plans to integrate Hulu as a tile into Disney+, and he’s also overseen as Disney+ has removed dozens of titles from its service in another cost-saving move.
He’s also contended with added pressure from Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida over the conflict around the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation dating back to March 2022 when Chapek was still in charge. And Disney has had to grapple with some underperformance at the box office for titles like “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Elemental,” and most recently “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.”
Iger originally served as CEO between 2005-2020 and was responsible for the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Fox. He’ll next be tasked with determining whether to buy out Comcast’s stake in Hulu, which seems highly likely at this point.