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Disney Names Parks Chief Chapek as CEO

The Walt Disney Co. said it has named Disney Parks chairman Bob Chapek as chief executive officer, effective immediately. The 27-year company veteran replaces Bob Iger, who will become executive chairman of the company.

Bob Chapek

Bob Chapek

The appointment of Chapek to the CEO spot solves what has been a corporate dilemma for the company for years, finding a successor to the well-respected chairman and CEO. Iger is a tough act to follow — Disney has added iconic brands like Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel and most recently 21st Century Fox, since he was named CEO in 2005. Iger will continue to direct Disney creative projects and will finish out the remainder of his contract, which expires on Dec. 31, 2021. As executive chairman he will also lead Disney’s board of directors.

In Chapek, Disney gets a company veteran that has served on the distribution and consumer products sides of the business. He joined the company in 1993 and has served as president of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, president of distribution for The Walt Disney Studios and 2011 to 2015, he was president of the former Disney Consumer Products segment. In 2018, he was named chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

“With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of 21st Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Iger said in a press release. “I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney’s multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the Company’s creative endeavors.”

Chapek will be the seventh CEO in Disney’s nearly 100-year history.

“Throughout his career, Bob has led with integrity and conviction, always respecting Disney’s rich legacy while at the same time taking smart, innovative risks for the future,”Iger continued. His success over the past 27 years reflects his visionary leadership and the strong business growth and stellar results he has consistently achieved in his roles at Parks, Consumer Products and the Studio.”

In his new role as CEO, Chapek will directly oversee all of the Disney’s business segments and corporate functions. He will report to Iger and the board of directors. He will be appointed to the board at a later date. A new head of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products will be named at a future time.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to assume the role of CEO of what I truly believe is the greatest company in the world, and to lead our exceptionally talented and dedicated cast members and employees,” Chapek said in a press release. “Bob Iger has built Disney into the most admired and successful media and entertainment company, and I have been lucky to enjoy a front-row seat as a member of his leadership team. I share his commitment to creative excellence, technological innovation and international expansion, and I will continue to embrace these same strategic pillars going forward. Everything we have achieved thus far serves as a solid foundation for further creative storytelling, bold innovation and thoughtful risk-taking.”