While The Walt Disney Company has dealt with its fair share of trials, tribulations, and controversies, the firestorm surrounding the company and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida specifically has reached an unprecedented high.
While the Disney Park community has been skeptical of Bob Chapek since the get-go, with new additions like Genie+ not helping, his takeover couldn’t have come at a worse time. Taking the reigns from former CEO Bob Iger in early 2020, folks could’ve settled and given Chapek the benefit of the doubt, after all, running one of the largest corporations in the entire world with a pandemic breaking out is no easy task.
Chapek has now become synonymous with the company’s latest controversies, including the company’s controversial response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
For almost four decades, only two CEOs served The Walt Disney Company, being Michael Eisner from 1984 to 2005 and Bob Iger from 2005 to 2020. Now with two years on the job under his belt, Bob Chapek is facing a crisis that has the potential to rival or even topple the issues Eisner faced throughout the 80s and ’90s at the company.
Hundreds of employees expressed how they felt about Chapek’s stance on the bill, hosting a company-wide walkout. The response to Disney’s stance (or lack thereof originally) was so harsh that Disney and Chapek came out in full support o the LGBTQ+ community and denounced the bill. As Disney continues to make efforts to further support the LGBTQ+ community after hurting so many in that same community just months ago, many have wondered if leadership shake-ups would include current CEO Bob Chapek soon.
Disney’s board of directors is set to gather in Orlando for its annual retreat, where the 11 different members will review the company’s businesses as reported by The Los Angeles Times.
While many have questioned Chapek’s leadership, most people who spoke to the Times expect that the board will re-up Chapek’s contract during this retreat.
If this does not happen at this meeting then it is expected to happen later this year. Christine McCarthy, Disney’s CFO, praised Chapek’s leadership, saying: “Bob Chapek stepped into his CEO role only two weeks before most of the company’s businesses shutdown, and he deserves credit for leading the company through the unprecedented crisis of a global pandemic and emerging even stronger,” McCarthy said. “His fact-based decision making has been focused on creating long-term value for the company and delivering results, and I could not be more happy with the great team Bob has created over the past few years. That, to me, is the sign of true leadership.”
In the past few months, The Walt Disney Company has seen record lows on the stock market, indicating that the pandemic and/or the multiple controversies have affected the company and consumers. Chapek also recently fired Peter Rice, a top executive from the company in a move that shocked the company and media at large.
Despite all of this, Disney Chairman Susan Arnold claimed that Chapek had the board’s backing earlier this month, complimenting his “leadership and vision for the company’s future.”
How do you feel about Bob Chapek at The Walt Disney Company?