Bob Chapek Calls Being Disney CEO “Three Years of Hell”

Bob Chapek Being Disney CEO Hell

In 2020, longtime Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that he would be stepping away from the role he held for 15 years. It was also announced that Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek would be taking his place. While Iger was no longer CEO, he did remain with Disney, taking on the role of Executive Chairman. Things did not go well for Chapek, and he was fired by Disney less than three years after receiving his promotion. Chapek was fired in November 2022 and Iger returned to once again be CEO.

Bob Chapek

Credit: Disney

Since returning as CEO, Mr. Iger has not had the easiest of times. He is attempting to build Disney back up — mainly for the shareholders — and is doing so by eliminating thousands of jobs and drastically increasing the cost of Disney’s streaming service, Disney+. Before Iger came back, many were quick to blame Disney’s decline on Chapek, but things have not gotten much better in the 10 months Iger has been CEO. That is leaving many to speculate that maybe Chapek wasn’t as bad as he was made out to be.

Former Disney CEO Bob Iger and new Disney CEO Bob Chapek

Credit: Disney

And now, a bombshell new report is showing just how hard it was for Chapek to actually be CEO — and how much he seemed to dislike the job.

It’s no secret that Iger and Chapek frequently butted heads during Chapek’s time as CEO. Iger even reportedly called naming Chapek his successor one of his “worst business decisions.” But did Iger make things more difficult for Mr. Chapek than they needed to be?

According to a report from CNBC, Chapek told those close to him that being CEO was “three years of hell” because of Bob Iger.

Chapek confided to a friend that his tenure at Disney was “about three years of hell,” defined by one overriding theme: his unrelenting fear that Iger wanted his job back…

Just weeks after Iger announced his departure, Chapek began to wonder if Iger had regrets, according to people familiar with his thinking. Equally soon, Iger started to think he’d made a mistake. 

At first, the signals were tiny. When Iger announced his departure to staff on Disney’s Burbank studio lot, he jokingly called himself “Big Bob” and Chapek “Little Bob,” a light reminder to employees about who was still the boss.

Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek, current Disney CEO Bob Iger

Credit: ABC

During his time at Disney, Mr. Chapek seemed determined to set himself apart from Bob Iger. Unfortunately, this led to a number of questionable decisions, including getting rid of talented executives because they were close to Mr. Iger and taking most of the creative power away from creatives and giving it to his right-hand man, Kareem Daniel.

Despite leaving under less-than-stellar circumstances, Chapek stands by the work he did at Disney. His spokesperson released a statement, saying:

“Bob is proud of the work he did in the course of his 30-year career at Disney, particularly during his nearly three-year run as CEO, steering the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, and setting the course for business transformation as he and his team took the disruptive yet necessary steps for business revitalization and long-term growth.”

bob chapek mickey mouse

Credit: Disney

Since being fired from Disney, Chapek has kept a very quiet profile. His statement above is one of the first times that he has ever addressed his time as CEO, as he never released a statement after being fired. When he was fired by Disney “without cause”, he was able to walk away with about $20 million, something many people had a problem with.

Bob Iger’s contract was recently extended through December 2026. He has not indicated who he may be looking at as a potential successor, but you can be sure he is going to be much picker about it since Bob Chapek mess.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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