Bob Iger, who led Disney for 15 years and oversaw the acquisition some of its largest new libraries, including Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel, has stepped down as CEO of the company.

In 2005, Bob Iger stepped into the top office of media giant Disney, taking over from former CEO Michael Eisner in a “shareholder revolt” led by Roy Disney. He put Iger in place to guide Disney through a number of important changes, including the switch from VHS to DVD to streaming, and the rise of CGI animation.

On Tuesday, February 25th, Iger stepped down even more suddenly than he stepped up. Effective immediately, he resigned his title of CEO, although he will continue to hold multiple powerful roles in the company for some time to come. Until December 2021, Iger will stay on as executive chairman working in league with the new CEO, and he will continue to direct content creation, his favorite part of the job, for the foreseeable future.

In the same pronouncement that announced his stepping back, Iger announced his successor as well; Bob Chapek is the current head of Disney’s parks unit, and will move immediately into the CEO role. Iger looks forward to collaborating with him for the next two years, and says that Disney’s board-members have been expecting him to name Chapek for several years.

Tuesday’s press release was a shock to the industry. Last year, Iger told investors that he would be stepping down in 2021. The company’s stock has taken a hit from the change, but is expected to recover swiftly. Unless Chapek turns out to be a lame duck, in which case Kevin Mayer, another Disney luminary and head of their streaming services is waiting in the wings. With the first flush of success of Disney+, he was the other likely candidate for the Disney throne.

Source: NBC News

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