Iger steps down as Disney CEO

Iger steps down as Disney CEO

By Stephen Ippolito | February 26, 2020

It’s the end of an era, Robert Iger has stepped down as the CEO of The Walt Disney Company effective immediately. Iger will assume the role of executive chairman and will continue to direct the company’s “creative endeavors.” Replacing him will be chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Bob Chapek, who has been with the company since 1993.

“Bob Iger has built Disney into the most admired and successful media and entertainment company, and I have been lucky to enjoy a front-row seat as a member of his leadership team. “

New Disney CEO Bob Chapek

Iger who held the top job since 2005, has led the company into a massive expansion. He oversaw the acquisitions of Pixar ($7.4 Billion), Lucasfilm ($4 Billion), Fox ($71 Billion), and of course, Marvel Entertainment ($4 Billion), the parent company of Marvel Studios (aka The MCU).

In his autobiography The Ride of a Lifetime, Iger dedicated a whole chapter that goes into detail on his and the company’s decision to pursue and then acquire Marvel Entertainment. He discussed his negotiating with Marvel Entertainment CEO Isaac Perlmutter and latter on how he pushed the Studio to make solo films staring black and female superheroes (Black Panther, Captain Marvel).

Iger, in his book, broke down his involvement with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and Studio Chairman Alan Horn and how they would outline the future of MCU in quarterly meetings:

“We discuss projects that are well into production, and others that are specks of an idea,” he wrote. “We mull potential characters to introduce, consider sequels and franchises that might add to the existing Marvel Cinematic Universe. We consider actors and directors and think about how the various stories can be cross-pollinated.”

Bob Iger in his autobiography The Ride of a Lifetime

Iger was instrumental in providing Feige the tools and resources he needed to make the MCU what it is today. In the same book, Iger goes over the long-rumored heated standoff between Feige and his boss Perlmutter after Disney’s acquisition. In 2015 after crashing time after time on creative decisions, Iger, sensing the tension and fearing Feige would resign, stepped in and made changes in the management structure. Feige and Marvel Studios would break free from Perlmutter’s rule and now report to Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. As you know, the move would be very successful.  Films like Black Panther, Captain Marvel (both films Perlmutter was against), Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame would go on to be significant successes at the box-office.

From left to right: Robert Iger, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn

Not much is known if Chapek will make any changes to Marvel Studios. One would assume that with the massive success of their recent films and Feige’s promotion to Chief Creative Officer last October, it will be very little if anything at all. The saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” comes to mind when I think of this.

This truly is the end of an era for the “House of Mouse.” Iger’s leadership truly helped for Marvel Studios to become the powerhouse that it is today. I’ve always thought that if Kevin Feige is the father of the MCU, then Bob Iger is the grandfather of it.

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