Disney CEO Bob Iger Steps Down After 15+ Years

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Walt Disney Company’s CEO Bob Iger stepped down Tuesday, effective immediately. Iger will stay on as executive chairman at the company through 2021, and Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney’s parks, will assume the role of CEO. 

Iger spoke publicly about plans to step down at the end of next year at an investor conference as early as April 2019, according to CNBC. An SEC filing confirms that Iger will maintain authority over content creation. Iger's retirement had been planned for years, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Iger said in a press release. “I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney’s multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the Company’s creative endeavors.”

Iger took over as CEO at Disney in 2005 after working as president and COO. He has been credited with overseeing the company’s $71 billion acquisition of Fox entertainment as well as other key portfolio additions: Lucasfilm, which is home to “Star Wars,” and Marvel Entertainment. The company also launched the Disney+ streaming service last year, which includes a suite of original programming and reboots and has reportedly drawn 40 million subscribers

According to CNBC, Iger said after the announcement Tuesday that he decided to leave his role as CEO nearly two years earlier than previously disclosed in order to focus more on creative projects. He also reportedly said that he will help Chapek transition into the new job.

Chapek will be the 7th CEO in the company’s nearly century-long history.