The Disney community, Cast Members and Employees alike, have spent the last 12+ hours in a flurry of excitement and unknown. As Chapek is officially out after last night’s statement from the Disney Board, more information is being shared in the aftermath of this massive change.
As reported by CNBC, the “specifics that led to Iger replacing his hand-picked successor are filled with missteps, deceit and awkwardness”. First, Chapek’s contract was renewed in June 2023 for three more years with Disney. At the time of the renewal, the Board shared their confidence in the job Chapek was doing, and ultimately stood by him. Disney Chairman Susan Arnold wrote at the time: “In this important time of growth and transformation, the Board is committed to keeping Disney on the successful path it is on today, and Bob’s [Chapek] leadership is key to achieving that goal. Bob [Chapek] is the right leader at the right time for The Walt Disney Company, and the Board has full confidence in him and his leadership team.” This leaves many to question, at what point did Disney lose their confidence, and why? Now that we are still within his contract, Disney is on the hook to possibly pay out “tens of millions in severance pay”. Was this still the smartest move financially for the company? That’s still to be determined, as we see how Bob Iger steps back into the role.
Secondly, as the Board shared their confidence on Chapek with investors and Employees mere months ago, what will Disney say to bring them back on board with this huge change? Granted, Iger has a stellar track record with the company, so that’s a starting point. But will investors be satisfied with possibly feeling deceived?
What’s perhaps the most interesting part of this transition of power has been how it happened. It’s definitely one for the record books, as Iger was approached this past Friday, only three days ago, and asked to come back as CEO. This not only took Iger by surprise, but what about Chapek? Chapek and his company allies were not involved in the conversation at all until Sunday evening, around the same time as Iger’s statement. There was no advance notice to Chapek prior to that, and CNBC reports that he was “completely blindsided” to be removed from his position. The change of power was decided Friday by Board members and investors, many who had “complaints about Chapek’s leadership with concerns following Disney’s most recent quarterly earnings report”. Confidence in Chapek was lost, and they stated they believed he was “unfit for the job”. Iger was the only person named as a replacement for Chapek, no other outside or internal names were mentioned as a replacement.
Will this be the right move for The Walt Disney Company? Will Iger restore the company, and regain investor and employee confidence in Disney? Most importantly, will Guests who have been disappointed finally see a brighter side?
This story is still developing. Stay tuned to Streaming the Magic for the latest!