Shortly after replacing the controversial Bob Chapek, Bob Iger, Disney’s returning CEO, didn’t waste any time in getting right to business. After two years under Chapek’s reign, The Walt Disney Company suffered heavy blows after poor financial decisions, political cyclones, and treatment of its staff and Cast Members. Wanting to make amends, Iger had this to say to Disney’s employees.
Chapek made several questionable decisions during his tenure at Disney, but one of the most damning grievances that led to his departure was how he treated the company’s Cast Members. Despite referring to them as Disney’s “Secret Sauce,” many Cast Members were living in poverty with their current wage.
With that all in mind, Iger seems to want to start right at home by addressing them directly shortly after stepping back into the position of CEO. In a mass email sent out to the Disney employees, Iger stated his mission and thoughts on the matter. The message reads,
Dear Fellow Employees and Cast Members,
It is with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility -and, I must admit, a bit of amazement -that I write to you this evening with the news that I am returning to The Walt Disney Company as Chief Executive Officer.
When I look at the creative success of our teams across our Studios, Disney General Entertainment, ESPN and International, the rapid growth of our streaming services, the phenomenal reimagining and rebound of our Parks, the continued great work of ABC News, and so many other achievements across our businesses, I am in awe of your accomplishments and I am excited to embark with you on many new endeavors.
I know this company has asked so much of you during the past three years, and these times certainly remain quite challenging, but as you have heard me say before, I am an optimist, and if I learned one thing from my years at Disney, it is that even in the face of uncertainty -perhaps especially in the face of uncertainty – our employees and Cast Members achieve the impossible.
You will be hearing more from me and your leaders tomorrow and in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, allow me to express my deep gratitude for all that you do. Disney holds a special place in the hearts of people around the globe thanks to you, and your dedication to this company and its mission to bring joy to people through great storytelling is an inspiration to me every single day.
To some, this might be putting a bandaid on a bullet wound, but Iger the Optimist promises that the Cast Members will be hearing from him and the rest of Disney’s leaders, hopefully with quality-of-life-improving movements. Iger was responsible for many bold and progressive steps while he was originally with the company, and logic dictates that he will have the skills and abilities to do it again. At this point, only time will tell.
It’s not the fix many are likely hoping for, but its certainly a step in the right direction. By improving relationships with creators and cast members, Disney will slowly regain their sense of magic. Cast Members are the secret ingredient that make the Parks function, and better conditions for them mean better conditions for the Parks. Iger still has a long row to hoe, but at least he’s looking at it the right way.
Do you think Iger will rebuild relationships with the Cast Members? Tell us in the comments below!