Whew! For a moment there we thought it really might have been a serious rumour, which we saw in the New York Post today, that Cheryl Sandberg, currently COO of Facebook, may be heading to Disney in 2016 to replace Bob Iger when he retires then as the company’s CEO.
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We’ve barely gotten used to Alan Mulally not leaving Ford to become CEO of Microsoft, after months of a steady drip of rumours that he was absolutely a shoe-in for the job, only to see it in the end go to Microsoft insider Satya Nadella.
Now the New York Post has put in its ten cents, floating a trial balloon that Sandberg could indeed have a shot at the Disney top job. Already a paper billionaire, thanks to the progress of her Facebook stock holdings, it seems she might well be attractive as a candidate for disney as other names already in the ring seem to be quite faceless by comparison – absolutely no pun intended.
Disney has made no official comment on the idea and neither has Sandberg, except that a source has apparently told Venture Beat she has no plan to leave Facebook or go to Disney, “There have been no conversations with Disney. It’s not true. It’s a false rumor, ” the source told VentureBeat.
It seems, too, that in 2005, the last time around when Disney was looking at the CEO succession, Meg Whitman, who was running eBay at the time before she became CEO of Hewlett-Packard, was apparently invited to be a candidate. So another obligatory female candidate this time too would certainly, at the very least, tick some of the boxes company board search committees like to cover off in such a process, wherever it might actually lead.
Moreover, both the purported top internal candidates for the succession at Dinsey this time, CFO James Rasulo or current theme park division head Thomas Staggs, hardly spark much enthusiasm beyond their own company walls, and a leader needs to be able to do just that.
Cheryl Sandberg is a superstar and also incredibly bright, and has done a fantastic job as COO at Facebook. The Disney board would really be remiss if it was not considering her candidacy, therefore – whatever the denials are from all sides.
Whether she would want the job is another matter as by 2016 we have another presidential election coming, too, with Hilary Clinton perhaps running for the top job in the country. If she should win, and offer Cheryl Sandberg a role in her administration it would be awfully tempting.
On the other hand, even if she does really wish to become CEO of Disney, the best thing she could possibly do at this point is deny it completely.