Bob Iger — he was key to Disney’s acquisition of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox, and so many other developments at Disney’s theme parks and beyond.
Iger has been with the Walt Disney Company for 15 years, but he has confirmed that he will be leaving the company at the end of this year. During a recent interview, Iger spoke about how Disney+ has been a beacon of hope, the importance of the reopening of Disneyland, and so much more. And now we’re sharing some of this big interview with you!
Recently, Bob Iger, who is currently Executive Chairman of the Walt Disney Company, spoke with SiriusXM Business Radio host Alan Fleischmann.
Iger’s full interview will air on Tuesday, April 6th, 2021, at 6PM ET on SiriusXM Business Radio channel 132. But, recently, SiriusXM Business Radio’s: Leadership Matters gave us a peek at this interview and we’re sharing some of the big details with you!
Reopening Disneyland Is A Sign That There’s Light at The End of the Tunnel
With respect to Disneyland, Iger noted how Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek was “like a kid” making the announcement of the park’s reopening, and that it was “that kind of moment for the company too. There was something very exhilarating about it.” Fleischmann noted how people heard it and felt like it was “a great sign that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
We have a feeling many Disneyland fans feel the same, especially judging by the excitement that there was at the recent start of the “A Touch of Disney” event inside one of the Disneyland Resort theme parks!!
Iger shared how reopening Disneyland says a lot about the park, but it also says a lot about “what we’ve been through these last 12 months” and how there’s something truly symbolic about Disneyland reopening.
Iger noted that “it was unheard of to think about closing Disneyland” and that they didn’t know they were going to be closed for OVER a year. But, at the end of the day Iger says “closing it was a big deal and announcing that it’s reopening is just as big a deal.”
At the moment, Disneyland’s theme parks plan to reopen, with capacity limitations and other health and safety measures, on April 30th.
Disney+ As a Beacon of Hope
When it comes to Disney+, Iger shared that “timing is everything.” Iger said that Disney was intent on launching a direct-to-consumer service, and “thank goodness we did that when we did it.” Disney+ launched at the end of 2019. As Iger notes, when Disney shut everything down, they at least had Disney+.
Iger said that they had so many things shot or in the can, but the struggle was figuring out how to get production going again so they can “fuel the platform.” Iger noted how the creatives at Disney really kept things going, and how Soul was finished entirely during COVID. A new documentary about how Soul was finished during quarantine is actually set to be released in the future.
Iger even went so far as to say that Disney was very fortunate that they went into this new business because when COVID hit, they at least “had something to turn to.” Iger noted that Disney+ “kept the company vibrant because there was a beacon of hope.”
According to Iger, Disney+ has also had a “profound impact on the perception of the company at Wall Street because the stock has risen dramatically in the process.” Per Iger: “We plummeted when COVID hit because of the shutdown, and rebounded quickly because we continued to grow Disney plus.”
Disney stock did in fact maintain ALL-TIME high levels last year following Investor Day, where Disney announced TONS of new titles for Disney+, despite reporting big losses in terms of the Company’s overall finances.
Iger’s Goal for the Next Few Months: More of the Same
During the interview, Iger said that what he hopes to accomplish in the next few months is “more of the same.” He said he’s looking at shows, looking at movie rough cuts, reviewing scripts, and trying to “drive really hard to deliver quality, to adhere to the standards that have worked for us so well.”
He said he expects he’ll become less and less relevant over the next few months. But, he said he also wants to do a little goodbye tour and say goodbye to the people who’ve been important to him. Specifically, Iger noted he’s intent on getting back to Shanghai Disneyland and maybe even doing a cruise!
Creative Work and Life After Disney
In shifting to the role of Executive Chairman, Iger said he thought the best thing he could do for the company would be “make sure that we succeed at succession, and that my successor is successful. And then second, leave the company and my successor with the greatest possible hand created creatively. A pipeline of movies, and television shows, and theme park attractions, and lands, and you name it that would power the company for many years to come.”
Iger said he feels “incredibly confident that when [he steps] away, the company will be in good shape and in good hands.”
When it comes to life after Disney, Iger noted that he’s excited. Will Iger be retiring? He says, no way. Iger specifically noted he can’t possibly retire and that he’s NOT going to sit around in the house binge watching TV shows (the dream, really). But, he said that he is looking forward to have a little bit more leisure and more adventure, “whatever that is.”
So, it sounds like Iger is hard at work on the creative side, setting Disney up for success for the next several years. We cannot wait to see the projects in the parks and entertainment that will result from those efforts. And we’ll be interested to see how the company continues to evolve and change after Iger leaves.
We’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more updates, and we’ll let you know what we find. Stay tuned for more updates!
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What do you think about Bob Iger and how he’ll be leaving Disney? Tell us in the comments.