Iger’s Four Horsemen of the Succession Apocalypse

bob iger
Iger has been spending extra time showing the four wannabes what they don’t know, and an executive coach is helping to polish them. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for YES 20th Anniversary Gala
Matthew Belloni
March 17, 2024

I got stuck for a bit in the Disney scrum near the jamón station at the Governors Ball last Sunday. At the center, of course, was C.E.O. Bob Iger, who was congratulating the various contributors to Poor Things, which won four of the company’s five Oscars that night. Not as many as his arch-nemesis Brian Roberts at Comcast, but a long way from the tech interlopers: Apple’s Tim Cook and Eddy Cue, on the other side of the Dolby Ballroom, got completely blanked, despite 10 nominations for Killers of the Flower Moon; Netflix co-C.E.O. Ted Sarandos and Amazon leader Andy Jassy, perhaps sensing the coming shellacking (each won just one Oscar despite a combined 21 noms), didn’t even bother to attend the ceremony.

Not far from Iger, as the Oscars and the Spanish ham were passed around, was Dana Walden, Disney’s TV chief, whose ABC network aired the awards show, and Alan Bergman, its film leader, whose Searchlight division delivered Poor Things, the latest in a pretty incredible run of Oscar winners over the past 15 years. The Disney crew also included Josh D’Amaro, its parks chief. All of Iger’s direct reports are invited to attend the Oscars, but it was hard not to notice that three of the four internal candidates to become C.E.O. (ESPN’s Jimmy Pitaro was on the East Coast) were circling him in a proud moment for the company’s creative engine—especially amid a run when those moments have been few and far between.