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Will Disney CEO Bob Iger Renew His Contract?

Update: on today’s earnings call, Iger said he would stay if asked by the board, but that he thinks there is a good succession plan. Decision time is in 2018.

Just like any other empty nester nearing retirement age, I’m sure the Iger family has that RV gassed up and ready to go in the drive way, ready to go explore America. Ok when you’re yearly earnings are that of Disney’s CEO Bob Iger, that RV may be a private jet, but the call of retirement is strong. So strong that Iger, who shortly turns 66, has already told company investors that he plans on stepping down from the CEO role in a year and then resigning from the board not too long after that.

Alas, when you’re in charge of a huge multi-national corporation like The Walt Disney Company it is incumbent on you to always be grooming potential successors. Despite turning billion dollar deals for Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar, this is one area in which Iger has failed.

So I’m only a little surprised to hear that Iger may be readying to sign up for another couple years atop the Disney pyramid. Make no mistake, the company needs a successor, Iger deserves that RV adventure too, but it’s more important that the right person is found and groomed and that can take time.

There are some big decisions ahead. The TV business is going through a slow transformation and ESPN’s subscribers loss is just the first sign of the change. The theme parks are at risk of losing their cultural cache as prices rise and fewer families can afford to visit, the long term affects of this trend could be disastrous. Just to name a few.

Who do you think is capable of replacing Iger at Disney? Is an internal candidate best or what about someone external?