It will be no surprise to Walt Disney Company, Disneyland Resort, and Walt Disney World Resort fans to learn that former Disney CEO Bob Chapek was not very popular when he was the leader of the company (which was only a few weeks ago). Bob Chapek’s name was used in scorn and mockery by Disney Guests or Disney fans for months, sometimes even to refer to issues related to a theme park ride’s breakdown or the price of a Disney product.
Petitions were even signed asking Disney to fire Chapek — so it was certainly a big surprise, on the other hand, when Disney renewed Bob Chapek’s contract until 2024 earlier this year! Obviously, things have changed since then, and former CEO Bob Iger has returned, but at the time, Disney fans were shocked by the decision of members of Disney leadership.
According to a recent article by Wall Street Journal, the vote for Chapek’s contract renewal was “unanimous” — but not quite as certain as that word might suggest. There were actually two members of the voting board who did have doubts about keeping Chapek on, but they were talked into voting for the renewal by other board members!
According to the new article (which also exposes just how strained relations had become between CEO Bob Chapek and his CFO Christine McCarthy, who has her own less-than-ideal standing with Disney fans), directors Mr. Parker and Mary Barra (the General Motors Co. CEO) were preparing to vote against renewing Chapek’s contract since things had already started to go downhill.
However, “others persuaded them that support of the full board would boost Mr. Chapek’s confidence and shore up his performance.” This may not have worked in the long run — especially since, as the article puts it, now-returned CEO Bob Iger’s actions also indicated that he allegedly deliberately “undermined his successor” and kept “breathing down [his] neck”.
Now Disney fans at least know a bit more about the reasoning behind the confusing renewal of Chapek’s contract from June, though! Were you surprised by that announcement when it happened?