Bob Iger doesn’t even set foot and sweater vest on the Disney lot until tomorrow, and all anyone in Hollywood wants to talk about is who’s going to replace him. That’s one of the issues with this bizarre, recycled, “temp” C.E.O. situation: nearly every decision Iger makes in the next two years will be viewed through the prism of how it impacts succession—or whether, as some believe, Iger, now 71, will find a way to stay in that 6th floor office until he’s escorted out via an oval-name-tagged security guard or a coroner.
This is sort of the Disney way, of course. Ron Miller, Walt’s son-in-law, was evicted, kicking and screaming, from the castle in 1984 amid a hostile takeover bid. Then his replacement, Michael Eisner, famously resisted passing the torch, which led to the departure of Jeffrey Katzenberg. Under pressure to eventually name a successor, according to James B. Stewart in the Times, Eisner suggested Barry Diller, right before sending the board a nasty confidential note that “all but guaranteed that Mr. Diller would never succeed him.”