Tuesday afternoon, longtime Disney CEO Bob Iger, announced suddenly that he was stepping down after 15 years, effective immediately. He will be succeeded by Bob Chapek, who was Previously chairman of Disney parks, experiences, and products. He will take on the role of Disney’s new CEO.
The choice came as a shock to Wall Street analysts who assumed Kevin Mayer, head of Disney direct-to-consumer division, was the obvious choice. He was the face of Disney, working on the most important division. But it seems like Chapek is the one the board is looking for. He previously oversaw the launch of Disney’s new Galaxy’s Edge parks and checks all the boxes the Disney board wants in an executive who will oversee the entire company’s day-to-day operations.
Disney shares fell about 2.5% after hours.
Iger will remain executive chairman of Disney through the end of 2021, according to the company. Iger had been planning his succession for a while, saying at Disney’s investor day last year that “2021 will be the time for me to finally step down.” Iger has been CEO of Disney since 2005. He’s pushed back his retirement several times in recent years, and Tuesday’s succession announcement came as a surprise.