Why Disney Fired CEO Bob Chapek, Revealed by New Report

Bob Chapek, Disney castle, Disney logo
By Richard Nebens Posted:

Disney recently decided to bring Bob Iger back as the company's CEO to replace Bob Chapek to the surprise of many throughout Hollywood, and a new report has now indicated why that decision was made.

Disney fans were shocked to learn that the company made such a sudden move from a management perspective, rehiring Bob Iger as the studio's head executive as 2022 comes to a close. Iger previously held the position for 15 years before stepping down from the role in 2020, opening the door for Bob Chapek to take over the job from February 2020 until November 2022.

Chapek's run as Disney's top executive had been anything but smooth - he even heard a massive round of boos during his last public appearance at the 2022 D23 Fan Expo. Even considering that the global pandemic truly hit the world hard only weeks after his tenure started, some of his decisions left fans confused, concerned, and even angry at where Disney was going with its future.

Now, following the news of the CEO position switching hands so dramatically, a new report shares some of the reasoning for why things happened in that fashion.

Why Disney Replaced Bob Chapek

Bob Chapek, Disney logo, Star Wars, Marvel
The Direct

New information as to why Disney decided to replace Bob Chapek with Bob Iger has come to light via The Hollywood Reporter.

Disney's board of executives had been torn on Chapek staying in his position "for the past several months." However, the final decision to force out Chapek was reportedly made within the last week. And with the change happening so quickly, the report noted that very few people knew about Iger replacing Chapek "even at the highest levels."

The deciding factor for Disney to oust Chapek was his weak performance during the company's most recent quarterly earnings call earlier in November 2022. Chapek touched upon the necessity for cost-saving measures during the call but only outlined what these plans would be later that week. The then-CEO proposed plans such as a hiring freeze and layoffs.

Matthew Belloni of Puck corroborated these reports, saying that Chapek's handling of the call and its aftermath was the biggest factor in his removal, rather than the company's low earnings themselves. 

Chapek's tone-deaf mentioning of Disneyland's Oogie Boogie Bash in the face of a $1.5 billion loss in streaming wasn't just what left the board concerned, but it was Chapek's actions after the call (and after the company subsequently suffered a 13% stock drop) that contributed to the decision. 

Disney's HR department was also not informed that Chapek would be announcing layoffs, which reportedly also raised "alarm bells" internally. 

Is Disney's Future Secure With Bob Iger?

While Bob Chapek never had the easiest run with Disney thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic hitting home less than a month after he took over the job, his decisions for the company haven't been the most popular ones.

This started coming to light with the conflict between him and MCU star Scarlett Johansson over the release of Black Widow, which led Johansson to sue the company over a breach of contract due to the movie being released on Disney+ alongside its theatrical run. And while that debacle was eventually settled for a huge sum of money, Chapek continued to struggle with his employees, investors, and fans alike over the months that followed.

Chapek also found himself in hot water after Disney suffered backlash from its response to the controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill passed in Florida, largely due to Chapek remaining silent on the matter while other major Disney executives openly opposed the measures.

In the end, it appeared that Chapek's position was in jeopardy for much longer than most fans thought, even with this decision to replace him seemingly coming out of thin air and despite the recent renewal of his contract.

Now, as Iger returns to a job in which he found a great deal of success over the 21st century, all eyes will be on Disney as the company tries to rework its future and find its way back into fans' good graces. With Iger having more intimate knowledge of the company's workings overall, whereas Chapek was previously more focused on Disney's parks before assuming the CEO role, hopefully, the company will be on stronger footing moving forward.