Disney Reveals What Really Happened to Bob Chapek

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bob chapek onstage

Credit: Disney

The Walt Disney Company has parted ways with CEO Bob Chapek, and former CEO Bob Iger is back.

Disney made a shocking late-Sunday night announcement that Bob Chapek had stepped down from the position of Chief Executive Officer and that Bob Iger, who has spent more than four decades with the company– including 15 years as its CEO– had agreed to serve for the next two years in the position.

bob chapek
Credit: Disney CEO Bob Chapek- Screenshot via Annual Shareholders Meeting

The announcement caused absolute madness among Disney adults, who broke the internet, and it wasn’t long before all of social media and much more was set ablaze, many people wondering exactly what happened.

Disney has released an official statement, detailing what happened and what went into the decision.

“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” said Susan Arnold, Chairman of the Board. “The Board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the Company through this pivotal period.”

“Mr. Iger has the deep respect of Disney’s senior leadership team, most of whom he worked closely with until his departure as executive chairman 11 months ago, and he is greatly admired by Disney employees worldwide—all of which will allow for a seamless transition of leadership,” she said.

Bob Chapek
Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products Chairman Bob Chapek revealed exciting details of new experiences coming to Disney Parks during D23’s Destination D: Celebrating Mickey Mouse fan celebration in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Ty Popko)

In addition to sharing the news about Chapek, Disney also said that the company was “looking forward to the future.” The position of Chairman of the Board remains unchanged, with Ms. Arnold serving in that capacity.

“I am extremely optimistic for the future of this great company and thrilled to be asked by the Board to return as its CEO,” Mr. Iger said. “Disney and its incomparable brands and franchises hold a special place in the hearts of so many people around the globe—most especially in the hearts of our employees, whose dedication to this company and its mission is an inspiration. I am deeply honored to be asked to again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling.”

While Disney didn’t exactly share all the details on what happened, we can glean from this statement that much of the backlash from fans over the past few years came into play. Disney fans have been pushing for Mr Chapek to be fired from his position, and there have even been petitions amounting to more than 100,000 signatures calling for him to go.

cinderella-castle-partners-statue
Credit: Disney Parks

Ultimately, it seems that Disney chose to listen to its fans, and part ways with the controversial figure.

During his 15 years as CEO, from 2005 to 2020, Bob Iger helped build Disney into one of the world’s most successful and admired media and entertainment companies with a strategic vision focused on creative excellence, technological innovation and international growth. He expanded on Disney’s legacy of unparalleled storytelling with the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox and increased the Company’s market capitalization fivefold during his time as CEO. Mr. Iger continued to direct Disney’s creative endeavors until his departure as Executive Chairman last December, and the Company’s robust pipeline of content is a testament to his leadership and vision.

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