The Iger Six-Month Itch

Disney C.E.O. Bob Iger has notched three impressive wins in his six months back in the saddle.
Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
April 5, 2023

Hard to imagine, but it’s been six months since Bob Iger boomeranged back into the Disney corporate suite with the clearly articulated, multi-pronged goal of un-fucking up the Chapek messes (within the talent community, the Florida legislature, etcetera), rejuvenating the stock price, and finding his real successor, and all in a tidy two-year window. Iger’s successes in this short span have been impressive. He’s seen off a serious threat from an activist investor, restructured the company and outfoxed the governor of Florida. An impressive trifecta of early accomplishments. 

When Iger rejoined Disney as its C.E.O., last November, the company was in the midst of a five-month quiet war with Nelson Peltz, one of the fiercest activist investors around. Peltz and his hedge fund, Trian Partners, are known for getting their way, whether through successful proxy fights (as with Procter & Gamble and Heinz) or even through unsuccessful proxy fights (such as with DuPont). In other words, Peltz was not the kind of adversary who could be easily dismissed.