Since becoming the 7th CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Bob Chapek has definitely divided Disney fans over his direction and approach to the job.
In early 2020, Bob Chapek took on the role of CEO of Disney after Bob Iger took a surprise step down. Chapek did not have it easy to begin with as CEO, starting just before the COVID-19 pandemic and making difficult decisions throughout this last year and a half, including budget cuts and layoffs.
Now, a viral petition is trying to persuade the Walt Disney Company to fire Chapek, and Disney fans are debating whether this is the best path.
Bob Chapek’s role as CEO of the beloved Walt Disney Company follows a 15-year tenure from Bob Iger, who is currently acting as chairman to help guide Chapek through the transitional period. Iger will be ending his Disney employment at the end of the year, and Chapek will be on his own.
During a recent annual retreat for the company’s upper management at Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawaii, Iger seemed to hint at the data-driven nature of Chapek. Iger spoke about his advice on successfully being the CEO of The Walt Disney Company and not to let data control their decision, but rather, creativity.
The petition itself reads:
Bob Chapek […] has consistently made decisions that decrease the quality of what is put into the parks, and also ones that favor using Intellectual properties instead of original attractions. He consistently put himself and money above the product, and quality of the company.
The petition further discusses Chapek’s focus on budget cuts and laying off over 28,000 employees through the company, as well as moving attention to Disney+, Disney’s streaming service, and away from the quality of the Disney Parks. It adds:
Chapek has proven he doesn’t care about the quality and legacy of Disney.
Disney fans have been active on social media debating whether the petition is appropriate, with many Disney Guests very vocal on Chapek’s influence on both Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California.
Theresa C. commented on a recent Inside the Magic article regarding the petition, writing:
Disney isn’t the Disney that my daughter grew up with. I’ve been taking my daughter for her birthday ever since she was 2 now she’s 18. The last time I was there was august 2020 and it wasn’t the happiest place on earth
While Karl E furthered the note on Disney Park experiences, adding:
All I wanna tell Chapek is I want the good old pre-pandemic days at Disney World back, no Park Pass Reservations, able to meet characters up close, no lightning lanes where I pay the piper for a zip through the line.
Elizabeth L. even had an idea for who to replace Chapek with as CEO:
Bring back Joe Rohde as CEO! There’s a guy who knows how to build a park people love, and the type of person walt would want in charge of the company.
And Emily M. expressed her disappointment with the recent 50th-anniversary celebration at Walt Disney World:
If he has anything to do with the TERRIBLE 50th anniversary, I’ll sign. The management at the parks during the 50th is laughable […] I say this as an enormous Disney parks fan! I have been going to Disney parks every year for the past 20 years but the quality of “the product” has been taking a hit for several years now with a steep decline in the past year and a half/2 years.
Some Disney fans, however, were less inclined to sign the petition. Dawn W. wrote:
I wonder if people realize that some of this decision making comes from Josh D’Amaro and not Bob Chapek.
While J.R. A. commented about Chapek’s influence on the financial aspect of the Walt Disney Company:
Never happen. The company is increasing revenue, turning a profit, and the stock keeps rising. Chapek is doing his job, and here to stay
It is yet to be seen what this petition’s outcome will be, but it has certainly left Disney fans divided. Chapek has definitely left a strong mark on the Disney Company.
Before he was CEO, Bob Chapek was Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, leading Disney’s travel and leisure businesses such as Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, and Disney Vacation Club, as well as Disney’s Global Consumer Products Operations.
While Chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts, Chapek oversaw a massive expansion for Disney Parks worldwide, including the opening of Shanghai Disney Resort, the expansion projects of Disneyland Paris and Disneyland Hong Kong, and the announcement of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort. Chapek is also credited as the reason more Disney IPs are being incorporated into the Parks.
Stay tuned to Inside the Magic for future updates on leadership at the Walt Disney Company.
What do you think of Bob Chapek’s turn as CEO of the Walt Disney Company? Let us know below.