Even though Disney CEO Robert Iger (known as Bob Iger) stepped down from his position as CEO in February of 2020, there are still plenty of people who hope for his return — particularly in light of Disney fans’ displeasure with his successor CEO Bob Chapek, who has received a dramatic amount of negative feedback from Disney consumers.
According to the Sway podcast, “CNBC polled 10 media executives anonymously about their 2022 predictions, and one was that [Bob Iger would] return to Disney” even despite his demonstrated commitment to retiring permanently. The former Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger has now dismissed those rumors after speaking with Kara Swisher on the podcast.
The former Disney CEO and Executive Chairman has now been retired for approximately three weeks, and he told Kara Swisher on the Sway podcast that so far “it’s very different. First of all, I have to wait on lines at theme park attractions…I don’t wear a Bob name tag anymore…And I joked earlier, I don’t tell my wife to have a magical day every morning. I’m a rookie at retirement”. He did add that he already misses Disney’s churros, as well.
When Kara Swisher asked the former Disney CEO about any potential or truth to the idea of his return to Disney’s leadership, Bob was quick to nip the idea in the bud. Although he joked that he wouldn’t mind coming back as “a Mickey Mouse character”, he called any idea of his return to the CEO position “ridiculous”.
“I was C.E.O. for a long time. You can’t go home again. I’m gone,” he said. “I gave my I.D. up, my name tag up…My office, my email address— it’s all gone”. Kara also asked Bob Iger if he’d consider being a CEO in a different company, to which Iger said “if I wanted to run a company, I’d still be running Disney. No.”
He elaborated further about his retirement, saying that “I always wanted to leave when I felt like I still had it in me to do more, but that things were good and I didn’t want to tempt fate. And I also didn’t want to get to a point where people at the company were saying, when is he finally going to go. And there are [sic] couple of other factors”.
Former Disney CEO Bob Iger went on to say that “change at the top has value. Bringing someone in with a fresh perspective is like opening the windows and letting fresh air blow in”. He also explained the second additional factor leading to his retirement: “I was starting to get a little bit arrogant and a little bit overconfident in my own instincts. And what I mean by that is, I was sensing I was becoming a little bit more impatient or a little bit more intolerable, I should say, of other people’s ideas. I think because subconsciously, I felt like I was always right, or I knew it all”.
Bob Iger’s candor was noticeable in several parts of the interview, and he specifically pointed out that he is “in an enviable position right now, just because I’m not working for Disney. I’m kind of liberated. I can say anything about anybody”. However, he also was quick to pivot the conversation when certain topics were presented, with direct requests that Kara Swisher “change the subject”.
Former Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger also talked about his past interest in the presidency, his thoughts on streaming platforms, and the Black Widow lawsuit involving Scarlett Johansson — not to mention his opinion that “Chris Hemsworth is just a god”. When asked to summarize his “legacy” at Disney, former CEO Bob Iger said the following: “I came, I saw, I conquered…I was fortunate enough to be kind of handed the keys to the kingdom, to get the opportunity to run a company that had an incredible reputation and was important in the world. And I wanted to make sure when I left, that I burnished that legacy, that it was stronger, more admired, better than it was when I got it. I feel that I’ve accomplished that”.
Since Bob Iger denied rumors of his return to Disney, and seems to be enjoying his new “liberation” in retirement, it seems unlikely that Disney fans will be seeing a return of the former CEO to Disney.