Iger will be replaced by Bob Chapek, who previously served as chairman of Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Products division. Iger will become executive chairman of the company, a role he will hold through 2021.
Iger succeeded Michael Eisner as CEO in 2005 and spearheaded one of Disney’s most profitable periods in company history. During Iger’s tenure, Disney bought media companies Pixar, Marvel Entertainment, Lucas Films, and most recently 21st Century Fox. Since Disney bought Marvel in 2009, nine of the Marvel Studios films have gone on to gross more than $1 billion at the box office worldwide, including Avengers: End Game, which now holds the all-time record for box office gross.
Four of the five Star Wars films Disney released surpassed $1 billion at the box office. The $71.3 billion blockbuster deal to acquire 21st Century Fox from Rupert Murdoch landed Disney all of Fox’s tv shows and movies like The Titanic and The Simpsons, as well as its movie studios and TV networks. Disney also gained majority ownership of Hulu in the deal.
Most recently, Disney launched Disney+, the company’s streaming service, which has placed much of that previously acquired content under one streaming app. Disney+ has 26.5 million subscribers, according to the company’s most recent financial filing.
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Iger had previously postponed his retirement multiple times before abruptly stepping down Tuesday. “With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Iger said in a statement. “I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney’s multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the Company’s creative endeavors.”
In the same statement, Chapek highlighted his excitement to take the reigns from Iger. “I am incredibly honored and humbled to assume the role of CEO of what I truly believe is the greatest company in the world, and to lead our exceptionally talented and dedicated cast members and employees,” Chapek said in the statement. “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.”