“Egotistical” Bob Iger Needs To Move On from Disney, “No One’s Irreplaceable.”

in Disney, Entertainment

Disney CEO Bob Iger with Mickey Mouse waving goodbye

Credit: Inside the Magic

CEO Bob Iger has survived a boardroom proxy battle and made many exciting announcements for Disney Parks around the world. Now, it’s time to focus on what he came here to do: find a successor.

Disney CEO Bob Iger leader standing confidently with iconic Disney cartoon character Mickey Mouse and Nelson Peltz and Blackwells Capital by his side.
Credit: Inside The Magic

The 2024 Annual Meeting of Shareholders has come and gone, and Bob Iger has successfully fought off the proxy battle waged by Blackwells and Trian head Nelson Peltz to take control of the board. A day later, the Disney CEO announced that multiple new projects were on their way. It seems that things couldn’t be better for the executive.

Unfortunately, there is still one crucial aspect of his position that needs addressing: finding a successor. While many arguments from Peltz and Blackwells didn’t make sense, a significant factor in their attempt to control the board was how Iger botched the 2020 Bob Chapek succession.

Bob Iger (L) and Bob Chapek (R) at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
Credit: Disney

Related: Defiant Bob Iger Ignores Angry Disney Fans After Victory

Not only did it have poor timing, coming right before the COVID pandemic, but it went completely against the usual protocols of succession. On top of this, Iger remained as Executive Chairman to have creative control while Chapek ran the business side of things.

Now, all eyes are on Iger again. In order to keep Disney on the right track in the future, he needs to find someone who can take over and not be doubted. And industry insiders think that should happen sooner rather than later.

Industry Insiders Agree: Bob Iger Needs To Find His Successor

Bob Iger in front of a Disney castle with shadowy figures
Credit: Inside the Magic

Related: Iger Walks Back $60 Billion Disney Park Investment, Admits There’s “Nothing”

Multiple insiders have already weighed in on the Peltz-Blackwells proxy battle, especially when it comes to finding someone to follow in Iger’s footsteps. “Iger is wounded by this,” said a rival studio executive. “It makes him look egotistical and indecisive, and that wounds Disney. All the people who were passed over, the Chapek catastrophe, and the contract extension (last year), he needs to allow the board to do its job now.”

Another anonymous insider was much more direct: “Someone needs to tell Bob [Iger] no one’s irreplaceable.”

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

Related: Governor DeSantis Signs $2.5 Billion Disney World Highway Bill Into Law

A person who could move this forward is James Gorman, a newer board member who helped with succession at Morgan Stanley before joining Disney. He recently told CNBC, “When I joined the board, the thing I was focused on was that they had a rigorous succession process… I just came through a huge succession process at Morgan Stanley; I’m impressed by the process.”

He noted that the succession committee just met in February and is set to meet another “eight or nine times” this year. With his participation, it looks like there could be a shift of perspective on the board, with Michael Levin of consultancy The Activist Investor saying, “There needs to be some change on how this board sees its role… not two months ago, two years ago. …It’s largely an inward-focused board.”

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

Related: Bob Iger Waves “Goodbye” to Star Wars, Solidifies Cancellation Plan

Another analyst agreed, saying that the shareholders are conflicted and that succession now “will be a much more thorough process… I think they had to have learned the first time.” Fortunately, there seem to be some interesting options this time around.

Multiple internal candidates have been identified by media outlets: Entertainment division co-chiefs Dana Walden and Alan Bergman, parks division head Josh D’Amaro, and ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro. On top of this, the board could choose to go outside of Disney to focus more on the tech and streaming side of things. Ultimately, we’ll just have to wait, see what happens, and enjoy all of the new developments coming our way.

Who do you think should take over the Walt Disney Company? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

Be the first to comment!