The Walt Disney Company announced Tuesday that CEO Bob Iger will step down effective immediately. Bob Chapek who served as Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products has been named Chief Executive Officer.
The announcement came as a surprise although last year at Disney’s investor day Iger said he had been planning his succession. “2021 will be the time for me to finally step down,” he said after pushed back his retirement several times in recent years.
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Iger has been CEO of Disney since 2005. He will remain executive chairman of Disney through the end of 2021, according to the company.
Mr. Chapek said. “Bob Iger has built Disney into the most admired and successful media and entertainment company, and I have been lucky to enjoy a front-row seat as a member of his leadership team. I share his commitment to creative excellence, technological innovation and international expansion, and I will continue to embrace these same strategic pillars going forward. Everything we have achieved thus far serves as a solid foundation for further creative storytelling, bold innovation and thoughtful risk-taking.”
Robert Iger graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Television and Radio from the Roy H. Park School of Communications in Ithaca, New York, beginning his career in the entertainment industry modestly, with the role of a weatherman for a local television station in Ithaca. In 1974, at the age of twenty-three, Iger joined the American Broadcasting Company, working initially as a studio supervisor with special responsibility for the production of a number of soap-operas and some of the station’s most popular game shows.
In 1976 Bob Iger was transferred to ABC sports division, while in the following year was also given responsibility for heading the news department under the tutelage of station veteran, Roone Arledge.
Iger’s was eventually apponited president of the ABC Network Television Group, a title that he held between the years 1993 and 1994. In 1994, Bob Iger was promoted to president and CEO of ABC’s parent company, Capital Cities/ABC.
Two years later the Walt Disney Company acquired Capital Cities/ABC., immediately renaming it ABC, Inc., with Iger remaining a president of the company until 1999.
In early 1999 Iger was appointed to the role of president of Walt Disney International, the division in charge of overseeing Disney’s international operations, while still remaining as chairman of the ABC Group.
The following year Iger was named president of Disney, five years later replacing Michael Eisner in his role as CEO
In October 2011, Iger was appointed to the role of chairman at Disney to replace John Pepper, who had retired in March 2012.