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Bob: The Builder

Bob Iger Returns To Helm of Affairs As Disney CEO


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Onuche Ogboyi

a year ago | 3 min read

…as Bob Iger Returns To Helm of Affairs As Disney CEO

Bob Iger

In an effort to rebuild trust in the media and entertainment behemoth and steer its streaming division toward profitability, Bob Iger is taking the helm of Walt Disney Co. (DIS.N).

He succeeds Bob Chapek, whose tenure saw the company’s stock lose approximately a third of its value since he assumed leadership in February 2020, shortly before the COVID-19 problem erupted. Most recently, the company’s third-quarter earnings report resulted in the stock suffering its worst one-day fall in 21 years.

This year, Chapek was involved in a conflict with the staff over his silence over Florida legislation that would restrict discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom. He fought Scarlett Johansson, the star of Marvel’s “Black Widow,” over Disney’s decision to distribute the movie simultaneously in theaters and online in 2021.

Since 2019, Disney has invested heavily in streaming, going above and beyond to attract users to its nascent Disney+ network. And you’d presume the approach was successful given that the company can boast of two hundred million subscribers. No, not according to shareholders who fear that Disney’s golden geese, like theme parks, might be killed in order to boost streaming statistics. They will thus be hoping to see a lot more level keel going forward with Iger back at the helm.

During his decade and a half in charge, as well as overseeing the launch of Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, Mr Iger drove major acquisitions involving the likes of animation studio Pixar, comic book company Marvel, Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, and Lucasfilm, the home of Star Wars.

Bob Chapek

Chapek always toiled in Iger’s shadow. But ultimately it was Disney’s down-and-to-the-right share price that seems to have dealt the death blow. Chapek, a longtime parks and resorts executive, had little to do with Disney’s new big bet — streaming, which makes you wonder how Iger had 15 years to choose a successor and reportedly passed over candidates like former Disney executives Tom Staggs and Kevin Mayer…only to be back to spend another two years, looking for a successor.

Chapek, who joined Disney from its theme parks division, took over Iger and Mayer’s streaming strategy, which very consciously involved spending billions of dollars to build a competitive streaming platform.

As Netflix, Warner Brothers, Paramount, and Amazon can confirm, that tactic was employed frequently in the media. In 2021, the stock market favored such tactic, but in 2022, it was universally punished. Chapek, however, was forced to adopt the plan by the Disney board, which later placed the blame on him.

Can Bob Fix It?

He isn’t out of touch. He definitely isn’t. If he had left Disney for 15 years only to return to the helm of affairs, we may actually have an issue, but leaving just a year ago, and returning to the forefront, the trends haven’t moved too far out for him not to have a grasp of the happenings.

In an era of political polarization and culture wars, there is the difficulty of satisfying diverse international audiences, but let’s even zoom in a little more.

Customers may eventually object to the price increases Disney is adopting at Disney+ and its theme parks if they are experiencing a cost of living problem. Additionally, it is unlikely that moviegoer attendance will return to pre-pandemic levels. The importance of metrics like box office revenue has decreased, which has changed how “talent” is paid. Despite having a fantastic library of stories and characters, Disney spent around $30 billion on content last year to feed the streaming monster, which was being fought off by well-funded competitors like Apple Inc., Netflix Inc., and Amazon.com Inc. Its attempts with the Star Wars and Marvel properties have not won over everyone.

Iger’s second act comes at a good moment nonetheless. Disney’s stock price is at undemanding levels when he takes charge, having dropped by more than 40% this year. The long-awaited Avatar sequel will finally be released next month, and Disney’s centennial will undoubtedly evoke fond memories. Additionally, he might find some easy pickings to appease investors, such purchasing Comcast Corp.’s third interest in the streaming service Hulu.

Disney’s shares in New York gained more than 6% after Mr Iger’s return as chief executive was announced.

Fingers crossed with best hopes on how well the company will be able to navigate moving forward.

#OnucheOfTheRoots #Job32:8 💙👑🌍








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