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The Iger Narrative Meets Its Nemesis

Nelson Peltz
Nelson Peltz, the founder of Trian Partners, has gone public with scathing criticisms of Disney. Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
January 12, 2023

How dare this guy! Bob Iger did not return triumphantly to Disney to be second-guessed, and certainly not by an 80-year-old former P&G and GE investor and former junk bond salesman like Nelson Peltz, the founder of Trian Partners, who went public with some pretty scathing criticisms this week in his pursuit of a Disney board seat. A “company in crisis”? A “flawed” streaming strategy? Ongoing “self-inflicted” wounds? That is not The Iger Narrative.

Iger is a famously careful manager of his company’s image (and his own), and he’s been very clear about The Iger Narrative since he returned as C.E.O. in November: He’s giving power back to the creatives who felt marginalized by his successor/predecessor Bob Chapek. He’s comforting theme parks fans by ending fees to park at hotels and to download ride photos. He’s strolling with kids down Disneyland’s Main Street, honoring the late Barbara Walters in her ABC tribute special, and enjoying the College Football Playoff’s championship game, broadcast on ESPN, in a SoFi Stadium box (standing next to sports manager Ken Katz).