Disney CEO Bob Iger steps down, IU grad Chapek named as replacement

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NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 27: (L to R) Chief executive officer and chairman of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger and Mickey Mouse look on before ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), November 27, 2017 in New York City. Disney is marking the company’s 60th anniversary as a listed company on the NYSE. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Disney CEO Bob Iger is stepping down immediately, the company said in a surprise announcement Tuesday.

The Walt Disney Co. named Bob Chapek as his replacement. Chapek was most recently chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

Iger will remain executive chairman through the end of his contract Dec. 31, 2021.

Iger said it was an “optimal time” for him to step down following Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s entertainment assets and the launch of Disney Plus streaming service in November.

“Did not see this coming — Wowza,” tweeted LightShed media analyst Rich Greenfield.

FILE – In this Sept. 11, 2015, file photo, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Bob Chapek poses with Minnie Mouse during a ceremony at the Hong Kong Disneyland, as they celebrate the Hong Kong Disneyland’s 10th anniversary. The Walt Disney Co. has named Bob Chapek CEO, replacing Bob Iger, effective immediately, the company announced Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

Chapek is only the seventh CEO in Disney history.

Iger became CEO of Disney in 2005, succeeding longtime chief Michael Eisner. He steered Disney through successful acquisitions of Lucasfilms, Marvel, Pixar and other brands that became big moneymakers for Disney.

Susan Arnold, the independent lead director of the Disney board said succession planning had been ongoing for several years.

Chapek was head of the parks, experiences and products division since it was created in 2018. Before that he was chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts since 2015. Before that, he was president of the Disney Consumer Products segment from 2011 to 2015.

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