This year has been one of BIG change for The Walt Disney Company. Not only did we see a ton of price increases across the board at the parks, but the company’s stock started to drop after the 4th quarter earnings report came out.
Shortly after, the company announced that CEO Bob Chapek would step down and that former CEO Bob Iger would be returning to that role within the company. But someone else almost became Disney’s new CEO.
Let’s take it all the way back to the passage of Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” Bill that eventually became law in the state. The bill “restricts the mention of LGBTQ+ topics in classrooms that are not ‘age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.’” Disney’s initial response was against the passage of the bill.
After meeting with a group of Disney LGBTQ+ leaders to discuss the legislation, Bob Chapek began to speak out against the bill (which, as we mentioned above became law). As a result, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called for legislation that would dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which is the governing jurisdiction and special taxing district for Disney World. That legislation was passed and became law.
According to a new article by the Wall Street Journal, Bob Iger (who was not CEO of Disney at the time) told TV interviewer Chris Wallace in March — while the controversy was still going on — that “one of the things that CEOs accept as a responsibility is that they’re going to have to weigh in on issues, even if voicing an opinion on those issues potentially puts some of your business in danger.”
The Wall Street Journal goes on to say that “some company directors began talking informally among themselves about whether Mr. Chapek was still capable of steering the ship. One option they considered was replacing Mr. Chapek with board member Mark Parker, a former longtime head of Nike Inc., as an interim CEO while the board hunted for a successor.”
So it seems that discussions had already started earlier this year about the replacement of Bob Chapek as Disney’s CEO. However, the company held on a little longer, and in November, Bob Iger stepped back into the role, although it’s only for a couple of years.
Who Is Mark Parker?
Mark Parker has been a Director with The Walt Disney Company since 2016, but as we mentioned above, he is an executive for Nike. Like many Cast Members at Disney who have worked with the company for years and years, Parker has worked with Nike since 1979.
He is currently the Executive Chairman for Nike after stepping away from the President and Chief Executive Officer position in 2020. During Parker’s years with the company, he has been in many different positions with focuses on product research, design, development, marketing, and brand management.
Parker was CEO from 2006 to 2020 giving him 14 years of experience running a major company. This is likely one of the reasons Disney was considering him earlier this year for the position of Disney CEO.
He is a recognized businessperson by many in the field. In 2015, Fortune named Parker their Businessperson of the Year. Nike co-founder Phil Knight commented on Parker saying, ““It’s about time the media discovered Mark Parker. It’s like, where have you been? He’s been a nine-year sensation.”
In 2016, he was on the New York Times list of highest paid CEOs with $47.6 million paycheck. He has also had to deal with some controversy from the media when he supported Nike’s deal with Colin Kaepernick. He spoke publicly about the choice saying, ““We feel very good and are very proud of the work we’ve been doing,” and went on to say that this deal helped with “record engagement with the brand, according to NBC Sports.
We’ll continue to keep following any other information that comes out about why Bob Iger was chosen to head Disney again, but in the meantime, keep following us for more news!
Why It Might Be Easy To Replace Bob Iger at Disney
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What changes would you like to see Bob Iger implement during his time back as CEO of Disney? Let us know in the comments.
Mary Kosloske says
In all honesty I wish it would have been Michael Isner!
Jim S. says
Mary: There’s definitely merit to your comment!
Respectfully, it is Michael Eisner who together with Frank Wells spearheaded the rebirth of Disney which was the inspiration for everything Disney is Today. Fast Pass, Disney Cruise Line, AK, Studios, Epcot, both Waterparks, almost all of the hotels with the exception of the Riviera, DVC, DowntownDisney/Westside, pleasure island along with most of the Disney all time greatest animated movies and the worldwide distribution of Disney Parks all came under the direction of these two leaders. Iger does not even come close to compare.
Mary Kosloske says
I agree completely and have said it before 👍. Spot on sir spot on!!!!