Disney announced on Sunday night that CEO Bob Chapek had left the company and would be replaced by his predecessor Bob Iger. Chapek's exit came after a tumultuous few months that saw Disney underperform its expected earnings.
Chapek oversaw a period of rapid growth in expenses at Disney's streaming service and a controversial rise in the costs to consumers at all levels of interaction with the entertainment giant. Chapek's resignation comes shortly after the parks announced changes in cost and further restrictions on park passes.
“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” said Disney board chair Susan Arnold in a news release announcing the move.
Iger will take over for two years and has the "mandate of the board" to shape the future direction of the company. During Iger's previous term, Disney grew into the all-consuming media giant it currently is. He led the company through acquisitions of Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel and 21st Century Fox.
"It is with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility — and, I must admit, a bit of amazement — that I write to you this evening with the news that I am returning to The Walt Disney Company as Chief Executive Officer," Iger wrote in an email to Disney employees. "When I look at the creative success of our teams across our Studios, Disney General Entertainment, ESPN and International, the rapid growth of our streaming services, the phenomenal reimagining and rebound of our Parks, the continued great work of ABC News, and so many other achievements across our businesses, I am in awe of your accomplishments and I am excited to embark with you on many new endeavors."
An era of increasing costs and fewer services made Chapek few friends among the die-hard Disney community. As such, the reactions to Iger's return were mostly celebratory (with a few jokes about another CEO making headlines thrown in for good measure).