CEO Bob Iger Forces Disney Back Into Politics as Executives Panic

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Bob Iger speaking at a podium against a blue-lit backdrop.

Credit: Disney

If you thought that things would calm down after Bob Iger managed to defeat an attempt to oust him from Disney leadership, we have some bad news. Disney insiders are reporting that the controversial CEO is dragging the company back into politics.

Bob Iger standing by an archway with a view of a fairytale castle in the background.
Credit: Inside the Magic

In recent years, the Walt Disney Company has become a hot topic in the culture wars. Although the Mouse House was considered a symbol of family-friendly conservatives for decades, efforts by CEOs Bob Chapek and Bob Iger have transformed its reputation into the “most woke company in America.” In attempting to implement diversity and inclusion practices, help disabled Guests at its theme parks, and take a pro-LGBTQIA+ stance, Disney managed to plant itself front and center in a firestorm of anti-woke politics and attacks.

Related: “Not Sustainable, Not Acceptable”: CEO Bob Iger Gives Up on Disney+

Nowhere was that more visible than in Disney’s ongoing legal battle with Governor Ron DeSantis, who targeted the Walt Disney World Resort for reprisal after Bob Chapek denounced his Parental Rights in Education Act, albeit after months of pressure from activist groups and the company’s sizable LGBTIA+ staff. Although Bob Iger and DeSantis seem to have managed to calm down a little bit, Disney is still considered by many conservatives to be a bastion of progressive politics that has no place in entertainment.

Bob Iger and Ron DeSantis
Credit: Inside the Magic

While Bob Iger might have withstood a proxy battle with billionaire Nelson Peltz, and Mouse lawyers are currently thrashing former Star Wars actor Gina Carano’s Elon Musk-funded discrimination lawsuit, insiders say that the company is about to descend into a year of behind-the-scenes politicking and fights to replace the Disney CEO (per The Hollywood Reporter).

The recent proxy battle to determine the leadership of Disney focused heavily on the question of when and how CEO Bob Iger would step down and, even more importantly, who would replace him. Many shareholders blamed the botched succession from Iger to Bob Chapek for Disney’s targeting in woke politics and, understandably, are wary of it happening again.

It turns out that Disney executives are even more worried about how the race to find a new CEO is going to impact business. An anonymous source warns, “What’s next is a year of intense politicking beneath the surface because Bob [Iger] will not tolerate [open] politicking. Everybody is frozen, not knowing who’s up and who’s down.” Basically, because the Disney CEO is loathe to have his underlings openly compete for the top job, he’s making it worse by turning it into a Game of Thrones-style political battle behind the scenes.

A dramatic storm brews over a bustling Disney World, with lightning bolts streaking across the sky above the iconic castle.
Credit: Inside The Magic

Iger is already being openly asked who will replace him as the head of the Walt Disney Company. He told CNBC that a succession plan was in place and that options were being actively examined, saying:

“The [Disney] Board engaged in a succession process the moment I came back…and they are taking it very, very seriously. They established this as their number one priority from the moment I came back.

They formed a committee right away; they’re meeting regularly and they’re going to meet even more regularly going forward because I’m not going to be here forever…”

Related: Report: DeSantis Used State Pensions To Rescue Disney CEO Bob Iger

That said, the executive seemed to waffle a bit, saying his replacement was years away and that he thinks “[I]t’s really important to name the right person at the right time and to create a transition process that is healthy.” He even managed a not-very-subtle dig at Chapek, saying:

“Well, look, the transition the last time around could not have happened at a worst moment for the company and the world.

Obviously we all have learned from the past and we are eager for this process to be successful not just in the choice of my successor, but ultimately how that person takes over.”

Disney executives Dana Walden, Jimmy Pitaro, Josh D’Amaro, and Alan Bergman
Credit: Inside the Magic

Disney experts currently consider the most likely candidates to replace the CEO as Disney entertainment co-chairs Dana Walden and Alan Bergman, ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro and Parks Chief Josh D’Amaro. It seems that Iger has forbidden them from trying for the big job in public, but all that will do will turn Disney into a hotbed of business politics and scheming. That’s definitely not what the Walt Disney Company needs right now.

Do you think Disney CEO Bob Iger is trying to stop a succession plan? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

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