Disney’s Bob Iger reached out to House of Mouse employees Sunday with the shocking news that he’s replacing Bob Chapek as chief executive, effectively immediately, noting “an incredible sense of gratitude and humility—and, I must admit, a bit of amazement.” He’s not the only one.
The tale of the two Bobs has been ongoing since Chapek surprisingly replaced Iger in early 2020 just as Covid hit, and it turned into a bit of a feud as the new CEO was said to resent the former breathing down his neck. Some high profile missteps had Wall Streeters and industry insiders questioning Chapek’s future at the company but those voices grew more muted after Disney’s board of directors appeared to settle the question by voting in June, unanimously, to renew his original contract, which expired in February 2023, with a new three-year agreement that started July 1. “Bob 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,” the board led by Susan Arnold said in a statement then.
Chapek’s abrupt termination follows Disney’s below par fiscal fourth-quarter financial results two weeks ago hobbled by streaming losses and ongoing fan unrest over theme park pricing.
Read Iger’s full memo below:
Dear Fellow Employees and Cast Members,
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.
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.
I know this company has asked so much of you during the past three years, and these times certainly remain quite challenging, but as you have heard me say before, 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.
You will be hearing more from me and your leaders tomorrow and in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, allow me to express my deep gratitude for all that you do. Disney holds a special place in the hearts of people around the globe thanks to you, and your dedication to this company and its mission to bring joy to people through great storytelling is an inspiration to me every single day.