On March 13th, 2005, it was officially announced that Bob Iger was to succeed Michael Eisner as the new CEO of the Walt Disney Company. During his time as CEO, Iger went on to expand Disney, with the acquisitions of several intellectual properties. In 2009, Iger oversaw the company’s $4 billion purchase of Marvel Entertainment. Disney’s acquisition of Marvel was complete in 2013, as the company gained the distribution rights to Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger.
The Disney CEO has since helped guide Marvel Studios’ business decisions, including forcing former Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter “to stop putting up roadblocks and ordered that [Marvel Studios] put both Black Panther and Captain Marvel into production,” as Iger believed that Disney had a chance to showcase more representation in their films.
Iger was also involved in the 2015 Spider-Man deal with Sony Pictures. Sony agreed to allow Marvel Studios to feature Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. This deal also allowed Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige to produce Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Last year, Iger and Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman’s attempt to create another Spider-Man deal fell apart in August. It was not until September that the two companies jointly announced that Kevin Feige was to produce Marvel Studios’ third Spider-Man solo film. Spider-Man will also appear in another unknown future Marvel Studios film as part of this new deal.
In December 2012, Iger also oversaw Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm for $2.2 billion in cash and $1.855 billion in stock. The acquisition of Lucasfilm gave Disney ownership over the Star Wars property. Disney went on to release multiple films, series, and video games based on the franchise: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Rebels, and Star Wars Battlefront.
Iger also led Disney to acquire 21st Century Fox in 2019 for $71.3 billion. This purchase gave the company ownership over multiple Fox related IPs: Alien, Predator, Avatar, Die Hard, Ice Age, Kingsman, and Planet of the Apes. Disney’s acquisition of Fox also included the film rights to the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Deadpool, and all related characters, which are now confirmed to be part of Marvel Studios.
The Walt Disney Company has officially announced that Bob Iger has stepped down as the Chief Executive Officer of the company. Iger will assume the role of Executive Chairman and direct Disney’s creative endeavors until his contract expires on December 31, 2021. Iger will be replaced by Bob Chapek as the new CEO of the company, effective immediately.
WHAT THIS MEANS
Bob Iger believes that with the successful launch of Disney+ and the acquisition of 20th Century Fox, this is the best time to step down as the CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Iger's successor, Bob Chapek, has worked at Disney since 1993. Chapek has since served as the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products since 2018.
Fans of Marvel, Star Wars, and other Disney properties are sure to be concerned about the company's sudden transition. Iger has stated that he has the “utmost confidence" in Chapek, who the former Disney CEO claims has "proven himself exceptionally qualified to lead the Company" moving forward. Chapek has also stated that what Iger has achieved since his 15-year tenure at Disney, "serves as a solid foundation for further creative storytelling, bold innovation, and thoughtful risk-taking.” for the future of the Walt Disney Company.