Disney CEO Bob Iger is good at a lot of things. He has a talent for acquisitions (as seen by Disney’s acquisition of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Fox during his first tenure as CEO) and is popular among many Disney fans. However, if you look at Iger’s weaknesses, choosing a successor seems to be at the top of the list.
Iger struggled to choose a successor the first time he left the position of Disney’s CEO, ultimately selecting Bob Chapek to take his place. It was reported that Iger later regretted that decision, and Chapek left the position just a couple of short years later. Now, Iger is back at the top, and he’s facing a lot of pressure from the company’s Board of Directors to find another successor. Could one surprising candidate be at the top of his list?
Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business reported that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is on the shortlist of candidates to replace Bob Iger as Disney’s CEO.
Although Disney has not confirmed the news, Gasparino stated that “the search to replace Disney CEO Bob Iger has officially started with a short list that includes some usual suspects and one out-of-the box candidate from the world of sports” (Fox cited “two people with direct knowledge of the matter”). Adam Silver is set to retire as the Commissioner of the National Basketball Association in two years, which would work out in terms of timing with the end of Bob Iger’s contract with Disney.
Silver reportedly has “a long-standing relationship with both Iger and Disney,” having worked closely with Disney-owned ESPN. Silver also worked in entertainment prior to his role as NBA Commissioner, as the President of NBA Entertainment.
Although some investors have called for Disney to sell ESPN, the company does not seem to be interested in dropping the sports network. Considering the NBA Commissioner for the position of CEO seems to confirm that Disney intends to keep its relationship with ESPN.
Silver has seen significant success in his current role, with the NBA experiencing increased profitability in ticket sales, merchandise sales, and networking deals.
Some other frontrunners for the position of Disney CEO apparently include Kevin Mayer, who is a former Disney executive and current CEO of Candle Media, and Dana Walden, who is currently Disney’s entertainment co-chair. Mayer was previously Disney’s chairman of the direct-to-consumer segment of the company, responsible for launching Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu+. He was also the CEO of TikTok for a short time. Walden has more experience in media and entertainment, having worked as the CEO of Fox Television Group.
Other possible candidates for the position include Alan Bergman (the other co-chair of entertainment, with Walden), Josh D’Amaro (chairman of parks and resorts), and Jimmy Pitaro (president of ESPN).
Iger isn’t alone in his search for a successor. Mark Parker, who will be Disney’s next Chairman of the Walt Disney Company Board of Directors (following Susan Arnold’s departure) has been tasked with finding CEO Bob Iger’s replacement. Parker will head up “a newly created Succession Planning Committee of the Board, which will advise the Board on the CEO succession planning, including review of internal and external candidates.”
Iger commented on the change, sharing, “Mark Parker’s vision, incredible depth of experience and wise counsel have been invaluable to Disney, and I look forward to continuing working with him in his new role, along with our other directors, as we chart the future course for this amazing company.”
The “top priority” of the new Succession Planning Committee is to “identify and prepare a successful CEO successor, and that process has already begun.” It’s clear that Parker and the Board will be wasting no time when it comes to developing a plan, and they may have that shortlist already drafted.
We’ll continue to watch for more updates on Iger’s quest to find a successor as Disney’s CEO. Check out these posts for more updates on Iger and Disney:
- Disney Employees Fight Back Against Iger’s New Rule
- Bob Iger Makes “Stark Reversal in Strategy” at Disney
- Why Is Disney CEO Bob Iger Obsessed with Zootopia?
- Disney CEO Bob Iger Comments on Bob Chapek Selection
Keep following DFB for more of the latest Disney news!
Click here to see Iger’s answer to a key questions about his future with Disney.
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Who do you think should replace Bob Iger when he leaves? Let us know in the comments.
Nothing against Mr. Silver, but Disney needs to look for an insightful and visionary business person like Roy O. Disney, with the values, passion, artistry and emotional intelligence of Walt Disney. Someone who can politely and respectfully stand up to the Woke agenda, which is not in keeping with its most loyal guest, and restore the quality of its entertainment offerings. Iger is smoother and more polished, but just as Woke as Chapek.
Melanie Durham says
I vote for Josh D’Amaro!!!!
Silver likely doesn’t have enough career remaining and Disney would just be right back in the situation of identifying who would follow him. Silver will soon by 61. Eisner and Iger were 42 and 54 respectively when they became CEO. Considering the tenure of both, it would seem undesirable for the company to put someone in place at Silver’s age. I’m sure the hope is whomever follows Iger would be in place for at least 10-15 years. Being a professional sports commissioner seems like a big disconnect from the business of Disney.
This would be a slap to Josh. Silver could probably handle ESPN, but the parks? Disney+?, movies?
It’s really discouraging to see another person with zero creative experience or focus being considered for what SHOULD be (and used to be) a highly creative company. Again, the wrong direction for a company that needs to get back to doing great stuff with Imagineering instead of just IP-ing everything.
GL Josh says
Mayer would be an interesting pick, Candle media would add a great selection of family friendly media and other more diverse offerings.
NO-NO-NO-to Josh D’Amaro NO-NO-NO. He should have been fired along with Chapek. He is in the parks, he know’s what is going on, he knows that there is no Magic and continues to smile BIG!
Great, someone totally owned by China. Just what Disney needs just put American needs. Whoo Hoo!
*Just what American needs
Wow. Look at all these old white men. Speaking as a Floridian, we don’t need any more Skeletors running things in our state.
Could Disney maybe consider a woman or two or at least a man of color?
Craig F says
It needs to be Josh D’Amaro. Absolutely NOT Adam Silver.
Barbara Sather says
It stands for reason that a person in a sports related field could be asset to Disney. Think of the possibilities to ESPN. On the short side the big loser would be the Disney Parks. Maybe that is the plan here. Downsize budget for parks while increasing prices more to maximize profits.
RandyC, said it perfectly, well said, absolutely agree. How we (the MAJORITY of us) miss and long to have Roy O Disney back.
Isn’t there anybody in that family that can step back in and up to the plate and whip that company back into shape where belongs.
Elizabeth Pokoly says
Josh may be good but often it is a cautious take to jump the lead and handle it well. Silver seems to owe you owe me being at ESPN. Needs creative person! not just someone from a company they bought into. Disney is alive and needs a creative person.