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Wonder Why Former CEO Bob Chapek Failed? Latest Reports Claim It’s Because of Bob Iger

bob iger bob chapek
All Images Credit: Disney

Ten months after former Disney CEO Bob Chapek was ousted from his position, inside sources have reiterated that Disney CEO Bob Iger is the reason his predecessor failed.

The Bob Iger-Bob Chapek saga has been documented extensively. It’s no secret that the former Disney CEO was quite severely disliked by the community at large; moreover, and perhaps more relevant to the company, few believed in his ability to run the company effectively, and his tenure was fraught with controversy and criticism.

bob iger bob chapek tension

Current Disney CEO Bob Iger and former Disney CEO Bob Chapek / Credit: Disney

However, one of the key observations that many insiders made about the situation between the two senior executives was how tense their relationship was. In fact, former Disney CEO Bob Chapek has even come out and shared his tenure was “three years of hell.”

This said, what is becoming increasingly apparent is that Bob Iger is why Bob Chapek failed as a CEO, at least, if inside sources are to be believed. Per a lengthy “tell-all” from CNBC, it seems current Disney CEO Bob Iger set up a foundation that constantly undermined Chapek. Some executives from the Walt Disney Company even reportedly speculated that “Iger chose Chapek because he wouldn’t rival him in either charisma or celebrity — or, more cynically, because he was unlikely to eclipse Iger’s glittering record at the company.”

We’ve reported previously that given the timing of Chapek’s exit, it was likely that the former CEO instituted many changes that would be credited to Bob Iger.

the walt disney company

The Walt Disney Company / Credit: Disney

Not only this, but as many Disney fans would know, Bob Iger was incredibly reluctant to retire. He pushed back his retirement multiple times over in 2013, 2014, and twice in 2017 before he finally agreed to step down and give way to Bob Chapek in 2020. But Iger never left the office.

He even refused to give up his big office with a vanity and shower, something board-members reportedly had thought Iger should give to Chapek as a symbol of the power shift…except Bob Iger retaining his office is significant: the authority likely never went to Chapek in its entirety at all.

In fact, “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 Iger and new Disney CEO Bob Chapek

Disney CEO Bob Iger and former Disney CEO Bob Chapek at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Theme Park in Walt Disney World Resort / Credit: Disney

What Did Bob Iger Say About Bob Chapek?

It’s unclear why Bob Iger chose Mr. Chapek—and the bigger picture certainly leads to a more cynical view that perhaps he felt he could control Chapek more easily than any other potential successors. This said, while now, Iger labels Chapek’s promotion one of his “worst business decisions,” at the time Mr. Chapek was probably the most amenable to a strange succession plan wherein Chapek was simultaneously CEO and CEO-in-training at the same time. (A plan that Mr. Iger’s previous predecessor, Michael Eisner tried and failed to secure for himself.)

At the time, Mr. Iger said, “What this is about, really, is, we believe, a really good succession process and a really smart transition process.”

CNBC even shares, “Iger never consulted anyone who worked directly for Chapek in the runup to naming him CEO, according to people familiar with the matter.”

"Partners" statue in front of Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort

“Partners” statue in front of Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort / Credit: Disney

All of these signs point to a succession plan that was clearly set up to fail and a CEO who was never truly able to let go.

When considering Iger’s successors now, the question remains: have Mr. Iger and the board learned their lessons, or will we see a repeat of what happened with Bob Chapek?

Only time will tell.

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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