On the evening of November 20th, 2022, Bob Iger broke the internet. News of his return as Disney’s CEO inspired comments from celebrities, shareholders, and Disney fans alike, many of whom expect major changes to follow the transfer of leadership.
Whether Iger plans to bring back Magical Express, raise Cast Member pay, and eliminate Genie+ (all of which have been suggested by Disney fans) has yet to be seen. For now, we’re looking at the cold, hard facts. Here’s every announcement and change that has happened since Bob Iger returned as Disney’s CEO.
Some Executives Leaving
As Bob Chapek exited The Walt Disney Company, some other Disney executives followed suit. This included Kareem Daniel, who was considered “a top lieutenant for former Disney CEO Bob Chapek.” Daniel had been appointed by Chapek to head the newly organized media and entertainment distribution group in 2020.
Iger announced Daniel’s departure and said, “I hope you will all join me in thanking him for his many years of service to Disney.”
Another executive who was closely linked to Bob Chapek is Arthur Bochner, who left Disney on November 26th. Bochner was Chapek’s vice president of strategic communications and lead speechwriter.
These are just the first of several changes we expect to see as Iger continues restructuring the company during his time as CEO.
Soon after Bob Iger’s return was announced, details about his contract and salary were reported. An SEC filing revealed that Iger’s annual base salary would be $1 million with a possible 100% bonus each year (depending on his performance).
In addition, Iger is entitled to The Walt Disney Company’s equity-based long-term incentive plans and programs, which means that, for each fiscal year that ends during Iger’s employment agreement, he’ll be given the long-term incentive award with a target value of $25 million.
Iger’s current contract with Disney is for 2 years, during which time he is expected to select a successor. Iger’s contract is scheduled to end on December 31st, 2024.
Disney fans weren’t the only ones excited to see Iger return to the company. If the company’s stock value is any indication, investors are also optimistic about the change.
Yahoo Finance reported that stock for The Walt Disney Company closed at $91.80 on November 18th (before the news of Iger’s return) and was trading at $100+ in the pre-market on November 21st. Once the market opened, the price for Disney stock was $100.10.
A bit after opening time, stock values mellowed out a bit and were trading at $98 later on November 21st. That was still higher than the $91-$92 range that stock was trading at days before the switch in CEOs.
Disney stock has changed quite a bit over the last few years as the company has coped with the worldwide pandemic and pent-up demand following the parks’ reopenings. We’ll continue to watch for other major changes in the future.
Hiring Freeze Update
During Bob Chapek’s time as CEO, he initialized a hiring freeze for some Disney employees. In the memo about the hiring freeze, Chapek said, “We are limiting headcount additions through a targeted hiring freeze. Hiring for the small subset of the most critical, business-driving positions will continue, but all other roles are on hold.” He also mentioned that job cuts could be part of this change: “We do anticipate some staff reductions as part of this review.”
Bob Iger has confirmed that the hiring freeze will still take place as Disney continues to look into cost-cutting measures.
All of those are changes that have actually happened so far, but Iger recently held a Town Hall meeting with employees where he hinted at other possible changes that could take place in the near future.
During the meeting, Iger was asked about the relocation of Disney employees from California to Central Florida. Disney previously invested in land in Lake Nona for a campus meant to house Disney employees, but the planned move has been delayed for over 3 years. In response, Iger said that he is aware that the relocation was delayed, but he has not made a decision on it yet.
Another question during the Town Hall meeting brought up the issue of the Park Pass Reservation system. This system has been the subject of some controversy, especially among Disney parks annual passholders. Iger said that he has not used the system himself, and he wants to hear from Josh D’amaro about the system before he makes any more comments (D’amaro is currently the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products).
Iger also briefly touched on some recent political issues that have involved Disney, including the controversy in Florida over the state’s Parental Rights in Education law (commonly called the “Don’t Say Gay” law by critics). Although Iger did not say what he plans to do specifically, he did comment on the dissolution of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, saying, “I had no idea what its ramifications are in terms of the business itself.” He continued, “The state of Florida has been very important to us for a long time, and we have been very important to the state of Florida.”
Later in the meeting, Iger was asked what the company’s position is when it comes to taking political stances. He replied, “I think there’s a misperception here about what politics is. Some of the subjects that have been proven to be controversial as it relates to Disney have been branded political, and I don’t think they are.” He concluded, “Do I like the company being embroiled in controversy? Of course not.”
Finally, Iger dismissed rumors that Apple was going to buy Disney, saying the merger was “nothing more than speculation.”
Want to learn more about Bob Iger’s return as Disney’s CEO? Check out these posts:
- Is Disney CEO Bob Iger on a Collision Course with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis?
- CEO Bob Iger Reportedly Believed Chapek Was “Killing the Soul” of The Walt Disney Company
- 7 Big Challenges Bob Iger Will Face as Disney’s New CEO
- Why Disney Replaced Bob Chapek With Bob Iger
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What do you think will change now that Bob Iger is back as Disney’s CEO? Let us know in the comments.