Disney Plans to Replace CEO Bob Iger in New Behind-the-Scenes Chaos

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

Credit: Inside the Magic

Bob Iger may have managed to hang onto his position as the CEO of the Walt Disney Company after a recent proxy battle, but the power struggle is far from settled.

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

For months, it was unclear if Disney CEO Bob Iger would be ousted from Disney by several rival factions of powerful investors. Iger returned to the company after his successor, Bob Chapek, had been voted out by the board of directors following a series of high-profile missteps, including kicking off a feud with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. But, even with the legendary executive at the helm, things have been chaotic for Disney.

The Mouse may have settled (most of ) his lawsuits with DeSantis and seemingly formed a working partnership with the governor, but there was still the matter of the proxy battle for seats on the Disney board of directors. Billionaire Nelson Peltz (backed by former Marvel chairman and Iger nemesis Ike Perlmutter) and Blackwells Capital both failed to get rid of Iger, but it turns out that thousands of other people still want him out.

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

Related: New Update: Disney Fans Attack CEO Bob Iger, Abuse Accusations Emerge

That would be the innumerable owners of Disney stock, who have increasingly grumbled about Bob Iger’s seeming lackadaisical attitude toward ever stepping down from his CEO position. Iger has made mouth service toward stepping down in interviews, claiming that it was a “top priority” to find a successor with a plan for the future, but has provided no details.

According to him, a “committee” has been working for years to find a replacement, but apparently, not too well. In a video interview with CNBC, Iger revealed:

“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…”

Disney experts report that Disney Entertainment co-chairs Dana Walden or Alan Bergman, ESPN chief Jimmy Pitaro, or Disney Experiences chairman Josh D’Amaro are all in the running to succeed as Disney CEO. But Iger and Disney have a problem: there is too much infighting behind the scenes.

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

CNN is reporting that top Disney executive Debra OConnell is cracking down hard on ABC News President Kim Godwin, a key figure in the Walt Disney Company leadership. The report says:

OConnell has been astonished by Godwin’s management — or lack thereof — at the network. In private conversations, OConnell has pointed to a slew of problems that have materialized on Godwin’s watch, faulting the embattled ABC News chief for her hands-off leadership style, which she believes has allowed problems to fester.

This is happening in the wake of the aforementioned potential Disney CEO Dana Walden already undercutting Godwin by creating an entirely new position for Debra OConnell to oversee her, as we previously reported.

Simultaneously, Business Insider has noted that Disney brought on Bain management consultant Andre James, reportedly an expert in “long-term strategic planning and market analysis and identifying growth opportunities, among other duties.” The company also promoted Justin Warbrooke to executive vice president in charge of corporate development, mergers and acquisitions, as well as divestitures.

Disney CEO Bob Iger looking worried in front of the Walt Disney Company building.
Credit: Inside The Magic

Related: Bob Iger Furious After Disney Executives Leak Award-Winning Show, Threatens Lawsuit

CFO Hugh Johnston released a concerning memo regarding the latter two executives, saying, “Now, more than ever, we need the best strategic minds, experts, and world-class talent hyper-focused on the long-term strategy and development that will fuel our growth for the future.”

Needless to say, very few reassuring messages use the words “Now, more than ever.” The Walt Disney Company is transforming into a revolving door of fleeing executives and infighting, which is not promising news for ever getting rid of Disney CEO Bob Iger.

Why is Disney so chaotic behind the scenes? Tell Inside the Magic your theories in the comments below!

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