It is not an exaggeration to say that Bob Iger’s return to The Walt Disney Company as CEO was incredibly sudden. Because, quite frankly, it was.
New reports show that from the initial offer to acceptance, the Board of Directors of one of the world’s biggest entertainment and media conglomerates replaced the Chief Executive Officer literally over a weekend and left many top executives discovering the news at the same time as we all were on Sunday night.
CNBC reports that Disney’s board of directors reached out to Iger on Friday, November 18. After the latest earnings report, there were clearly “surging concerns” felt among the directors, and an apparently immediate need to replace Chapek at the top was born.
Beyond Iger, CNBC’s David Faber reported that no other serious candidates were brought forward. However, “some internal candidates were identified that might be able to take the job over time,” but given the pressures on the company, they did not want to take a risk on someone new at this time. It is still unclear who those “internal candidates” could be at the time of this article’s publication.
Between Friday and Sunday night, Iger accepted the offer to reprise his CEO role for two years, and the changing of the guard was swift. Chapek was not informed of the immediate action until Sunday night.
According to The Wall Street Journal, many top executives found out via email Sunday night while attending the Elton John concert at Dodgers Stadium, which was being live-streamed on Disney+.
“Mr. Chapek was also expected to attend the event and the company had planned for him to introduce Mr. John from the stage before the concert, according to two people with knowledge of the plans, though it isn’t clear if Mr. Chapek attended, they said.”
There has still been no word from Chapek on the matter. The former Disney Parks Chairman recently received a three-year extension on his contract, suggesting that some kind of significant severance package is in play. The exact details of that buyout are still unknown, but reports estimate that Chapek will be walking away with over $20 million.
We at Disney Fanatic will continue to update our readers on Disney news and stories as more developments come to light.