Disney extends CEO Bob Iger’s contract through 2026

Walt Disney Company Extends CEO Bob Iger’s contract for two years, extending his term through 2026. After the news, the company’s stock price remained largely unchanged. Iger told CNBC in February that he did not intend to stay in office beyond two years, which would end in 2024. Iger returned to Disney in November, succeeding Bob Chapek, who was appointed CEO in early 2020. Iger had plans to prepare his next successor during his new term as CEO. The succession process remains a key issue for Iger, who said in a statement Wednesday that the company’s board continues to evaluate candidates for the position. “I want to make sure Disney is in a strong position when my replacement takes over,” Iger said of the contract extension. “The importance of the inheritance process cannot be overemphasized.”

But Mr. Iger has delayed making a succession decision before. From 2013 to 2017, he renewed his tenure as CEO four times after announcing his retirement. Mr. Iger’s second tenure at Disney coincided with a change in his media legacy. Big companies like Disney are having to navigate a rapidly changing landscape as advertising dollars dry up and consumers increasingly opt for streaming and ditch cable contracts.

Still, rising spending and consumers becoming more aware of their media spending have made the streaming space difficult to navigate in recent quarters. Netflix, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global valuations nearly halved in 2022 as streaming subscribers dwindle, but some stocks rise, along with the broader market, in the first half of the year bottom.

Since his return, Iger has embarked on a major restructuring of the company, including laying off 7,000 people.

“We’ve made important and sometimes difficult decisions to address some existing structural and efficiency issues, and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together,” Iger wrote in a memo to employees that was obtained by CNBC on Wednesday. “But there is more to accomplish before this transformative work is complete, and I am committed to seeing this through.”

Disney has been pulling programming from its streaming services to save money. The company is also trying to pull its animation business out of a major rut, as its latest Pixar movie, “Elemental,” recorded the lowest opening weekend gross for the studio since the original “Toy Story” premiered in 1995. When Disney recently finished laying off 7,000 employees, it saw the departure of veteran Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy.

“Bob has once again set Disney on the right strategic path for ongoing value creation, and to ensure the successful completion of this transformation while also allowing ample time to position a new CEO for long-term success, the board determined it is in the best interest of shareholders to extend his tenure, and he has agreed to our request to remain Chief Executive Officer through the end of 2026,” said Mark Parker, Disney’s chairman.

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