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Bob Iger to return as Disney boss amid financial woes for entertainment company

Iger oversaw a transformation at Disney in his 15 year tenure
Iger oversaw a transformation at Disney in his 15 year tenure   -   Copyright  Charles Sykes
By Tim Gallagher

Disney has reinstated former big name boss Bob Iger amid a period of financial woe for the company.

Iger ran Disney for 15 years and oversaw some of the brand’s most successful deals including buyouts of Pixar, Marvel, home of Star Wars LucasFilm, and the formerly Murdoch-owned 21st Century Fox.

His tenure saw Disney take over some of the world’s most beloved and well-known franchises and saw the company increase five times in value.

On his return to the post of Chief Executive Officer Iger will replace Bob Chapek, who has been in the job for less than three years.

“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” said Susan Arnold, Chairman of the Board in a statement.

“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.”

What are Disney’s financial problems?

Iger has agreed to return to his old job for two years amid a period of fiscal troubles for the entertainment giant.

Shares have fallen 40 per cent this year amid catastrophic losses at Disney+. In the three months running up to September, the service, which the company has pinned future hopes for its role in the new media ecosystem on, lost €1.4 billion.

The loss-making service nonetheless enjoys a higher subscriber count than comparable streamer Netflix, at 235 million to 223 million respectively.

“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,” continued Arnold.

“He is greatly admired by Disney employees worldwide – all of which will allow for a seamless transition of leadership.”

Aside from the company's ailing streaming operation, Disney has also been mired in controversy in recents years on a number of hot topic 'culture war' issues. 

Disney has caught the ire of Florida's right-wing Republican governor Ron DeSantis who has threatened to alter the privileged way it operates in the southern state. Chapek also received criticism over his silence on the so-called 'Don't Say Gay' bill, a piece of legislation pushed by DeSantis which prohibits speaking about LGBT issues in public schools. 

Disney has also had to battle national censors in the profitable Middle East region over Toy Story spin-off Lightyear and other releases.