Speculation about who will replace Bob Iger might just have to wait. The Disney CEO and Chair has extended his contract through June 30, 2018. It had been thought that either Jay Rasulo (current CFO and former Disney Parks Chair) or Tom Staggs (current Disney Parks Chairand former CFO) were going to step into the CEO role in 2016 while Iger moved soley to the board position. Now that’s up in the air.
The current thought pattern is that Disney will appoint a COO moving either Staggs or Rasulo (or a dark horse candidate like Anne Sweeney (currently co-chair of Disney-ABC TV Group)) into the newly created desk. The COO would then get first hand experience running a giant corporation like The Walt Disney Company has become. If they do this, it tells me they definitely want to keep the promotion in house.
“I’ve had the privilege of being the CEO of this great company for nine years and am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue through June 2018,” Iger said. “I’m very excited about what lies ahead, including the release of our Star Wars films and the launch of Shanghai Disneyland, and I’m honored to continue working with our talented management team and the 175,000 dedicated people who make this company what it is today.”
Iger came over with Disney’s aquisition of ABC Capital Cities, so he wasn’t entirely home grown, but he’s made progress were Eisner found gridlock.
“Bob Iger is the architect of Disney’s current success, with a proven history of delivering record financial results for the company quarter after quarter and year after year,” said Orin C. Smith, Independent Lead Director of the Disney Board. “Mr. Iger’s vision and strategy for the company led to the successful acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, the resurgence of Disney animation, and the dramatic expansion of its parks and resorts around the world, positioning the company for continued long-term growth. Given Mr. Iger’s outstanding record to date, it is obvious that shareholders and the company will be best served by his continued leadership, which is why the Board of Directors has asked him to extend his contract for two years, to June 30, 2018. I am pleased to report that Mr. Iger has accepted.”
Since Iger became CEO in 2005, total shareholder return has increased to 311%, compared to just 92% for the S&P 500, and Disney’s market capitalization has risen to $150 billion from $48.4 billion.