On November 20th, the world was shaken by a major decision made by The Walt Disney Company — Bob Iger was back as CEO.
Since then we’ve learned new details about why this decision was made, we’ve learned more about Iger’s plans in the position, and how long the boomerang CEO’s contract will last. There have also been some shakeups in the company with several executives leaving. Now, 2023 is on the horizon and several media executives have some THOUGHTS about what could happen with Disney in the new year.
CNBC sat down several media executives and asked for their biggest media and entertainment predictions for 2023. Several of them had to do with Disney from Bob Iger to streaming to other executives at the company. Let’s see what they had to say.
Iger Could Extend His Contract
Iger has been very invested in his role at Disney, even when he stepped back from the CEO position in 2020. He continued to speak his opinion about what the company was doing even when we wasn’t on the Disney Board anymore. We also know he was pretty quick to make a decision on returning — he took over as CEO just a couple of days after getting a call with an offer to return.
Because of Iger’s history having a “hard time leaving the role of Disney CEO”, one executive believes Iger will remain Disney CEO “for years to come.” The current CEO’s contract is set to end on December 31st, 2024, but it is possible he could extend it. Former CEO Bob Chapek extended his contract in June 2022 before his termination.
One of the main focuses that Disney laid out for Iger as he returned was finding a worthy successor in these next two years. We recently learned that earlier this year, Disney considered replacing Chapek with Mark Parker (a former longtime head of Nike Inc.) as an interim CEO following the “Don’t Say Gay” controversy with Disney. There have been other rumors of who could be the next CEO, including a “top contender” — current CFO Christine McCarthy.
Disney CFO Christine McCarthy Could Leave
Although McCarthy was listed as a “leading contender” for Disney’s next CEO, one executive thinks she is more likely to leave the company than move on to CEO. McCarthy was one of the Disney executives who expressed a “lack of confidence” in Chapek’s ability to lead following the Q4 earnings call.
According to the anonymous executive, McCarthy was part of Chapek’s inner circle which Iger may have suspicions about. However, McCarthy did serve as Iger’s CFO from 2015-2020 when he stepped down and her current contract is set to end in 2024. So is it likely that McCarthy will leave this year? It’s possible considering Chapek had several years left on his contract when he left the company, but it is also possible that McCarthy sticks it out until the end of her contract.
An Ex-Disney Executive Could Return
After working for Disney, Kevin Mayer became CEO of TikTok when Bob Iger did not choose him as the next Disney CEO. According to CNBC, this was a confusing choice considering Disney+ and streaming seemed to be Disney’s future at the time. Now, executives are saying Mayer could return to Disney if Iger seizes the opportunity.
Iger could get Mayer to return if he acquires Candle Media and names Mayer his successor as CEO. CNBC also points out that Disney could bring back Tom Staggs, Mayer’s co-founder of Candle Media, who left when it was clear he had no chance of becoming CEO after Iger.
Iger is known for the acquisitions he made during his first run as CEO including LucasFilm, Marvel, and Pixar, so he does have experience in acquiring something like Candle Media. It’s also pointed out that choosing a successor like Staggs or Mayer would show that Iger may have made an “error in judgement” during his first time choosing a new CEO.
These are exactly what they’re called — predictions. None of these are set in stone, but it is interesting to see what experts in the media field think will happen with Disney next year. We’ll, of course, keep you updated on all of the major changes that happen with Disney in the new year — stay tuned to DFB.
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Do you think Bob Iger will stick around after his current contract is set to end? Let us know in the comments.