Bob Iger, CEO of Disney promises he will step down in 2026
Walt Disney’s Chief Executive Bob Iger confirmed on Wednesday that he will “definitely” retire upon the conclusion of his existing contract in 2026. Additionally, he emphasised that the ABC broadcast network is not up for sale. During an extensive interview at the New York Times Dealbook Conference, Iger expressed optimism about the future of Shanghai Disneyland, stating he was “bullish” on its prospects. Furthermore, he anticipated the company’s plans to expand the theme park in the “relatively near future.”
Bob Iger, aged 72, returned as Disney CEO in November 2022, less than a year post-retirement, to revamp the company. The board ousted his chosen successor, Bob Chapek. Iger was initially planning a two-year term, but extended it to 2026. Disney’s board is actively searching for a successor, and Iger confirmed he’d “definitely step down” at his contract’s end. Post-Iger’s statement, the board appointed James P. Gorman, Morgan Stanley CEO, and Jeremy Darroch, ex-Sky Group chief executive, as new directors starting early next year. Gorman joins the succession planning committee, and Darroch is on the audit committee. Current director Francis deSouza won’t seek re-election at Disney’s next annual meeting.
Since his return, Iger has restructured and streamlined operations, aiming for over $5 billion in cost savings promised to investors by February. Iger acknowledged Disney’s challenges were “more challenging than expected” but stated he’s not daunted, just facing more work. Addressing the pause in X advertising after Elon Musk’s antisemitic comments, Iger mentioned the move wasn’t positive for Disney. ABC News and ESPN could still use X for communication despite the ad pause.