The search to find the successor to Disney CEO Bob Iger accelerates | World News | Trending Viral hub


Bob Iger, Walt Disney, Disney CEO, Disney

Bob Iger, CEO of Disney (Photo: Bloomberg)

With Walt Disney’s months-long proxy war with activist investor Nelson Peltz in the rearview mirror, attention is once again focused on finding CEO Bob Iger’s successor.

The board has extended Iger’s retirement date five times, continually deferring decisions on finding a replacement.

Disney board members sought to reassure investors ahead of Wednesday’s shareholder vote that they are taking the succession question seriously this time as they vet internal and external candidates ahead of the new Iger’s retirement date at the end of 2026.

This week, attention focused on Disney Entertainment co-chairman Dana Walden as the current top contender, among Hollywood insiders, many of them former Disney executives or those who have done business with one of the biggest entertainment conglomerates. big in the world.

Walden is a creative television executive in the Iger mold, with a string of critical and commercial successes and strong relationships with talent, who has quickly adapted to the company’s culture after 25 years at 21st Century Fox, they said. those who have worked with her.

Other internal candidates include Disney Experiences Chairman Josh D’Amaro, an executive with Iger-like charisma whose portfolio includes the company’s biggest revenue driver, its theme parks, and ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro, the friendly executive who is guiding the digital transition of the sports network. , according to a half-dozen high-level industry sources who know the company and its top executives.

Disney Entertainment co-chairman Alan Bergman, a Disney veteran who oversees film production and streaming, could also be in the running, they said.

“This has to be done better than last time, obviously,” said MoffettNathanson media analyst Michael Nathanson. “They have four good candidates and they all have different skills. They are going to test everyone. There will be more engagement with the street, they will learn how these people deal with us. Over the next 12 months, it will become clear.” the company for comment.

“Faulty succession process”

In an emergency move, Iger returned to Disney in November 2022, just 11 months after retiring, to rescue the company from his hand-picked successor, Bob Chapek. Despite steadying the ship during the Covid-19 pandemic, Chapek faced off against an A-list actor and Republican presidential hopeful, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who launched a war against the entertainment conglomerate that limited his autonomy over Mundo de Walt Disney. Meanwhile, mounting streaming losses sent the company’s stock tumbling.

The decision to bring back the former CEO signaled a critically flawed succession process, proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services said in its recommendation to include billionaire investor Nelson Peltz on the board.

Hollywood executives familiar with Disney’s business said the board would prefer to name an internal candidate, given the company’s distinctive culture and iconic brand.

At times, he has found leadership outside of the Magic Kingdom, such as when he hired Barry Diller protégé Michael Eisner in 1984 to revive the company.

A source close to Iger does not know of any outside candidates.

Another source cited Candle Media co-CEO Kevin Mayer, the company’s former chief strategy officer who serves as an adviser to Iger, as a possible outside contender.

Disney division presidents are considered strong executives with specialized experience. But none have the breadth of experience needed to run a diversified media conglomerate like Disney, said Hollywood executives who spoke to Reuters.

Iger may choose to elevate Walden or another internal candidate to president, to provide exposure to other parts of the business, before his scheduled departure.

Previous attempts to groom an heir apparent have failed, such as when Iger promoted parks chief Tom Staggs to chief operating officer in February 2015, bypassing Disney CFO Jay Rasulo. Two months later, Rasulo left. The following May, Staggs also left the company after learning that he would not become Disney’s next CEO.

A subsequent “feud” between parks chief Chapek and the president of Disney’s streaming business, Mayer, resulted in Chapek’s promotion in February 2020, and Mayer’s departure, months later, to briefly serve as director. TikTok executive.

Disney’s board of directors extended Iger’s contract through July 2, 2019, and again through 2021, to give the company time to find a successor. He did it again last July, in another attempt to buy time. As Disney grapples with a generational crisis, Iger may have to wait longer to repair his 184-foot yacht, Aquarius.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been modified by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First published: April 4, 2024 | 8:05 a.m. IS


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