Walt Disney’s Chief Executive Officer, Bob Iger, recently announced his definitive intention to step down when his existing contract concludes in 2026.
Speaking at the New York Times Dealbook Conference, Iger also clarified that the ABC broadcast network is not on the market for sale.
During the interview, he expressed optimism about the future of Shanghai Disneyland and disclosed plans for potential expansion in the near future.
Iger, currently 72 years old, returned to Disney as CEO in November 2022, less than a year after retiring. His return was prompted by the board’s decision to remove his chosen successor, Bob Chapek.
Initially, Iger had planned a two-year stint, but he agreed to extend his tenure through 2026.
In the quest for his successor, Disney’s board is actively conducting a robust search. Iger reiterated his commitment to stepping down at the end of his ongoing contract.
Following Iger’s remarks, Disney’s board appointed James P. Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley, and Jeremy Darroch, former group chief executive of Sky, as new directors, starting early next year.
Gorman will participate in the succession planning committee, while Darroch will join the audit committee. Current director Francis deSouza will not seek re-election at Disney’s next annual meeting.
Since his return, Iger has undertaken a significant corporate restructuring and streamlined operations to enhance cost-effectiveness.
The company is on track to surpass the promised $5 billion in cost savings outlined for investors earlier this year.
Iger asserted that Disney’s ABC unit remains non-negotiable in terms of sale, despite challenges posed by the decline in linear television viewership, with audiences increasingly shifting toward streaming platforms.
He acknowledged that Disney may need to reconsider the role of networks like ABC in its future strategy.
Regarding Disney’s foray into the movie business, Iger admitted that the company had overemphasized sequels and overextended Marvel Studios’ contributions to the Disney+ streaming service, resulting in quantity overshadowing quality.
Iger addressed Disney’s recent decision to suspend advertising on the social media platform X after owner Elon Musk endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory.
He stated that Disney’s association with X following Musk’s actions was deemed unfavorable, leading to the advertising pause.
Nevertheless, units like ABC News and ESPN retained permission to use the platform for communication despite the advertising suspension.
Disney’s stock closed nearly unchanged at $92.44 on the New York Stock Exchange following these developments.