Disney extends CEO Bob Iger’s contract through 2026

Jul 12, 2023, 5:03 PM

Bob Iger arrives at the world premiere for the film 'The King's Man' at Leicester Square in London,...

Bob Iger arrives at the world premiere for the film 'The King's Man' at Leicester Square in London, Britain December 6, 2021. The Walt Disney Company’s board has unanimously voted to extend CEO Bob Iger’s contract through the end of 2026 — an extension of two years. (Hannah McKay/Reuters/FILE via CNN)

(Hannah McKay/Reuters/FILE via CNN)

(CNN) — The Walt Disney Company’s board has unanimously voted to extend CEO Bob Iger’s contract through the end of 2026 — an extension of two years.

When Iger stepped into the CEO role at Disney for a second time in 2022, he stressed that the job would only last two years as the company searched for a suitable replacement.

In a statement Wednesday about his contract extension, Iger said he has had to make “difficult decisions to address some existing structural and efficiency issues,” but he believed Disney’s “long-term future is incredibly bright.”

Iger also emphasized that he remained intent on finding the company’s next CEO.

“Because I want to ensure Disney is strongly positioned when my successor takes the helm, I have agreed to the Board’s request to remain CEO for an additional two years,” he said. “The importance of the succession process cannot be overstated, and as the Board continues to evaluate a highly qualified slate of internal and external candidates, I remain intensely focused on a successful transition.”

Iger returned to his post as CEO in November 2022, after initially stepping down to retire. At the time, Disney said he agreed to return to the company for two years and would “work closely with the board in developing a successor to lead the company at the completion of his term.”

Disney has found it hard to replace Iger, even as questions remain about the company’s succession plans and future leadership.

“Time and again, Bob has shown an unparalleled ability to successfully transform Disney to drive future growth and financial returns, earning him a reputation as one of the world’s best CEOs,” said Mark Parker, Disney’s chairman. “Bob has once again set Disney on the right strategic path for ongoing value creation, and to ensure the successful completion of this transformation while also allowing ample time to position a new CEO for long-term success.”

This is not the first time Iger has undertaken a search for a successor.

In 2020, Bob Chapek, the company’s former chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, was named CEO after Iger unexpectedly announced his retirement.

Chapek led the company through theme park shutdowns and an economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, his tenure was short and bumpy, marred by a high-profile legal battle with one of the studio’s biggest stars, Scarlett Johansson, and controversy regarding Chapek’s handling of a Florida bill that restricts discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools; Chapek eventually apologized for his silence on the bill after initially declining to comment on it.

In November 2022, Chapek was ousted just months after signing onto a new three-year contract with Disney, and Iger stepped back into the role as CEO. Iger’s first term as Disney CEO lasted 15 years, from 2005 to 2020.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

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Disney extends CEO Bob Iger’s contract through 2026