FORMER Disney boss Bob Iger is making a shock return to the firm – less than a year after he retired.
He has been brought back by the media giant to steer it through turbulent times as the share price has plummeted and Disney+ continues to make a loss.
He replaces Bob Chapek, who took over as chief executive in February 2020. Iger, who headed the entertainment giant for 15 years, told the New York Times in January it was “ridiculous” to suggest he might return.
“I was CEO for a long time,” he said. “You can’t go home again. I’m gone,” he told the newspaper.
Iger, who was chairman until 2021, has agreed to stay in the job for two years, during which time he aims to find a successor to lead the company.
The surprise appointment comes as the entertainment company struggles to turn its streaming TV services into a profitable business.
While Chapek steered Disney through the Covid-19 pandemic, Disney disappointed investors this month with an earnings report that showed continued losses at its streaming media unit that includes Disney+.
“The board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the Company through this pivotal period,” Susan Arnold, chair of Disney’s board, said in the statement.
In June, Disney’s board voted unanimously to extend Chapek’s contract for three years. Through Chapek’s short tenure, Disney became engulfed in an internal culture war after being accused of remaining silent on Florida legislation that would limit classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Iger exited Disney on a high note as the company led the entertainment industry’s battle against Netflix in the streaming wars. The economic slowdown and high interest rates have hurt Disney+ as the company prepares for deep cost cuts.
“I am an optimist, and if I learned one thing from my years at Disney, it is that even in the face of uncertainty — perhaps especially in the face of uncertainty — our employees and cast members achieve the impossible,” Iger said in a memo to employees seen by Reuters. – Reuters.