Robert Iger to step down as Walt Disney CEO

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© Reuters. Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, speaks during the 10th anniversary ceremony of Hong Kong Disneyland in Hong Kong, China© Reuters. Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, speaks during the 10th anniversary ceremony of Hong Kong Disneyland in Hong Kong, China

By Helen Coster

(Reuters) – Walt Disney Co’s (N:) Robert Iger will step down as chief executive officer, handing the reins to Disney Parks head Bob Chapek, the company said on Tuesday, ending years of speculation on who will take over Hollywood’s most powerful studio.

Iger is still keeping a significant role at the company. He will assume the post of executive chairman and direct the company’s “creative endeavors” until his contract ends on Dec. 31, 2021, Disney said.

Shares of Disney, which ended the day down 3.6%, fell another 2.22% after the markets closed.

Chapek, who will be the seventh CEO in the company’s nearly 100-year history, has most recently served as the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Chapek will report to Iger.

In Chapek’s new role, the company said he will directly oversee all of Disney’s business segments and corporate functions.

As chairman of Disney theme parks division, Chapek oversaw Disney’s largest business segment, including the opening of Disney’s first theme park and resort in mainland China and the creation of the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. He joined Disney in 1993.

Iger, who has been CEO since 2005, has led the company through the development and launch of its Disney+ streaming service, which launched in November to demand that exceeded company expectations.

Iger built up the Disney brand through a series of acquisitions, including animation studio Pixar in 2006, Marvel in 2009, and “Star Wars” franchise owner Lucasfilm in 2012. His biggest bet was the purchase of 21st Century Fox 2019, a deal that was instrumental in launching Disney+.

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