Disney CEO Bob Iger to quit in 2026 - again

Bob Iger arrives at the 95th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023
Bob Iger arrives at the 95th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023 Copyright Jordan Strauss/Invision
By Jonny WalfiszReuters
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Iger announced his design to resign for a second time, amid a conversation about Marvel's box office woes.

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Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger has announced he will step down in 2026. 

When his current contract ends, the top executive of the media conglomerate will leave the role for a second time, after he returned to the company in 2022.

The 72-year-old Iger became the president of ABC in 1994 and then the president and COO of ABC’s corporate parent company in 1995 until its acquisition by Disney in 1996. Iger was then first made president of Disney in 2000 and succeeded Michael Eisner as CEO in 2005.

Under his stewardship, Disney expanded its portfolio massively, acquiring Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox. Iger also pushed to increase the number of theme parks in Asia, with new resorts in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Iger stepped back from his role as CEO in 2020 and served as executive chairman until the end of 2021. He was replaced by new CEO Bob Chapek.

Chapek didn’t last long in the role. He was ousted by the board in November 2022 and Iger was brought back into the fold as Chapek’s replacement.

Bob Chapek, left, and Bob Iger
Bob Chapek, left, and Bob IgerJoe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel

In an interview at the New York Times Dealbook Conference, Iger revealed he only planned to stay two years, but has extended his tenure to 2026. Disney is now undertaking a “robust” search for the next CEO as Iger promises he is “definitely going to step down” at the end of his current contract.

Cost cutting and Marvel malaise

Iger has restructured Disney since his return and made cost effective cuts that are set to save the $5 billion (€4.6 billion) the company promised investors earlier this year.

Looking forward, Iger assured that ABC was not for sale and that Disney had made a “mistake” in putting out too many sequels and pushing Marvel to make so many series for the company’s Disney+ streaming platform.

“Quantity, in our case, limited quality and Marvel suffered greatly from it,” Iger said. The Marvels opened to an underwhelming $47 million (€43 million) last month, a low for the MCU series. Iger suggested this was a result of the film being shot during the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of “supervision on the set”.

While he defended some of the sequels, he accepted a drop in quality control. 

“Often, the story is not as strong as the original story, that can be a problem, but it just has to have a reason, you have to have a reason to make it beyond commerce,” Iger said.

“There has to be an artistic reason to make it, and we’ve made too many.”

The issues facing Disney were “much more challenging than I expected,” the two-time CEO said. “I’m not daunted by it. It’s just a lot more work” he added.

Twitter spats

Finally, Iger also commented on the company’s decision to stop advertisements on X following owner Elon Musk’s endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory. 

The association with Musk “was not a positive one for us,” Iger said.

Musk hit back in an interview the same night. 

Speaking to CNBC about the antisemitism allegations, he proudly said “Go fuck yourself” to advertisers pulling their content from his controversial platform, noting “Bob” was likely watching in the audience.

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