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The Iger Shocker

Bob Iger
A Sunday night dagger of a press release announced that Bob Iger would return as C.E.O. of Disney, taking over from his hand-picked successor, Bob Chapek. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
November 21, 2022

So… was it the beard? By now you’ve seen the legitimately shocking news that Bob Chapek, the embattled and recently hirsute Disney C.E.O., has been replaced by Bob Iger, the 71-year-old former weatherman and mostly beloved Disney C.E.O. A Sunday night dagger of a press release thanked Chapek for his service and promised that Iger would lead for two years to “set the strategic direction for renewed growth.” That’s the C-suite version of death by firing squad. Truly amazing stuff.      

First, a number of readers have asked if I knew what was brewing when I wrote on Thursday about Iger’s persistent trash-talking of Chapek in private, and how the company’s recent stock slide had played into Iger’s criticisms. Alas, I did not (and in fact I’ve been chatting with a few Disney executives this weekend on another topic, and they had no idea what was up; the top people were told just before the press release). But I knew something was off. Think about it: Iger’s sentiments kept coming back to me via friends and associates, months after one would think that even he would move on with his new endeavors, so he clearly saw a lane.