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Even Some Within Disney Have Lost Faith in Bob Iger

Bob Iger's return hasn't worked out so far
Credit: Disney/Canva

It happens with athletes all the time. The crowd’s roar is just too much for them, and they don’t know when to walk away. Muhammad Ali fought into his 40s and ended up getting beaten to a pulp by Larry Holmes. Micheal Jordan returned to play for the Washington Wizards of all teams. But rarely does this kind of thing happen in business. But the return of an aging superstar may just be the kind of thing that is hurting the Walt Disney Company right now.

Time for Iger to fix Disney

Bob Iger has a lot on his mind. Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr/ Disney

Related: The Walls Are Quickly Closing in on Disney and Iger

When Disney CEO Bob Iger returned to the company last November, it was hailed by Wall Street and Disney fans alike. He was legendary at the Walt Disney Company. Iger was the CEO that turned Disney into an entertainment juggernaut by purchasing Pixar, Marvel, LucasFilms, and 20th Century Fox. But Disney fans and Wall Street had grown increasingly frustrated with the era of former Disney CEO Bob Chapek, and Iger was that warm, friendly face that would lead Disney back to the Promised Land.

But after one year, the return of Bob Iger did not have the fairy tale ending that everyone was expecting. By Iger’s admission, the problems facing the company were “greater than he anticipated,” and now, with Disney’s stock hovering at nearly 20 percent below the value when he took over, the sharks are starting to circle Iger and even people at Disney are openly questioning his return.

Business Insider ran a scathing article in which current and former Disney employees voiced their concerns and openly questioned the company’s lack of direction. There is a good amount of uncertainty around the Walt Disney Company at this point. Iger has talked about selling off some of Disney’s assets, such as ABC and some of Disney’s other over-the-air cable networks.

Disney CEO Bob Iger / Credit: glennia, Flickr

Disney CEO Bob Iger / Credit: glennia, Flickr

Related: The Sharks Are Circling As Iger Looks for a Way Out

A current Disney staffer told Insider:

There was a lot of excitement and hope at the return of Bob Iger a year ago. As far as I can tell, a lot of that, if not all of that, has dissipated. 

Disney has also been rocked by several bad business decisions and unsuccessful movies since Iger’s return. When he came back to the company, many believed that it would put the creative talent back in charge of the movie-making process. However, most new films Iger has announced are live-action remakes of properties Disney already owns.

An entertainment lawyer with knowledge of Disney’s business told Insider:

Internally, there isn’t clarity. Most execs feel really stuck and don’t feel they can proceed. It’s not just strike-related. There’s a lot of fear-based hesitation to advocate for something. In some cases, it’s self-imposed hesitation. In other cases, people feel they don’t know who to go to. His comments during the strike and the renewed focus on IP raise questions about what value talent will play in the future.

Iger still has several decisions to make about the future of the company. Disney recently completed its purchase of Hulu and has to decide if it will combine it with Disney Plus to create a streaming giant. Iger must also decide how and when to move ESPN to a streaming-only service.

Walt Dreamer Statue

Walt Disney Dreamer Statue. Credit: Disney

Parks have continued to be a vital aspect for Disney, but over the summer, the story surrounding Disney Parks was the lack of attendance at Walt Disney World in Florida. The park attendance has evened out, but Iger must try to dispel that narrative.

Iger is also facing down another proxy battle with activist investor Nelson Peltz. Peltz is seeking multiple seats on Disney’s Board and now owns more Disney shares than he did the last time he tried this in February.

There is also the future of former guaranteed money makers like Star Wars, Marvel Studios, and Pixar.

The world has changed around Bob Iger, and there’s still uncertainty about what his next move will be. But he must start by calming the fears within the Disney Company if he wants to get anything done.

We will continue to update this story at Disney Fanatic.

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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