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Bob Iger Replaces Bob Chapek as Disney CEO after Intense Fan and Investor Backlash Reportedly Forced Chapek Out of the Chair

bob iger bob chapek disney

Bob Iger has officially risen out of retirement to regain executive control over The Walt Disney Company as its CEO after a two-year respite. Bob Chapek, who had occupied the chair during the time, has been pushed back after heated and continual backlash from the fans, investors, and heads of Disney’s own subsidiaries after the now-former CEO failed to deliver on multiple accounts and led the company into a controversial era that was focused more on quantity over quality.

With Bob Iger set to take Disney toward a more restorative direction, the world looks positively hopeful for the future of the company as well as its content production.

Major shakeup is afoot at The Walt Disney Company
Major shakeup is afoot at The Walt Disney Company

Also read: “RIP Doctor Who”: Fans Convinced New BBC-Disney Deal Will Kill Franchise’s British Roots, Give Doctor Who a Total American Makeover

The Controversial Leadership of Bob Chapek at Disney

For the past two years, Disney has presented a radically different outlook with allegations of turning up its onscreen “woke” representations which were further enforced by a higher percentage of LGBTQ+ portrayals in films and series that faced subsequential bans in countries in the Middle East. However, when asked about the alleged upscaling of “wokeness” in content production, Bob Chapek claimed, “I think Disney is a company that has survived over a hundred years by catering to its audience and it’s going to thrive the next 100 years by catering to its audience.” Even then, Chapek was called out by his own employees and human rights activists last March for his reluctance to immediately condemn a controversial Florida bill, a move which was viewed by most as anti-LGBT.

Bob Iger (L) stands with Bob Chapek (R)
Bob Iger (L) stands with Bob Chapek (R)

Also read: Is Kevin Feige Leaving Marvel? MCU Overlord Rumoured to Be Calling It Quits After Alleged Disagreements With New Disney Boss Bob Chapek Over MCU’s Future

Under the leadership of Bob Chapek, The Walt Disney Company became more experimental in its output, and coupled with the pandemic era halt in production, content began to flood the platform as soon as the post-production crew began filtering into their workspaces. However, the intensity of content, especially when it comes to productions from large franchises like Marvel and Star Wars began frustrating its audience who soon started projecting emotions of exhaustion from their respective franchises.

After some heavily scrutinized controversial statements from Chapek recently, Disney’s image further began to falter as investors began questioning the man at the helm’s decision-making capacity. Last month, Chapek had infamously said while speaking at the Wall Street Journal Tech Live on October 26, 2022 —

“Our fans and audiences put their kids to bed at night after watching Pinocchio, Dumbo, or Little Mermaid, then they’re probably not going to tune in to another animated movie, they want something for them.”

Bob Chapek speaks at the WSJ Tech Live 2022
Bob Chapek (R) speaks at the WSJ Tech Live 2022

Also read: “You’re dead if you aim only for kids”: Fans Blast Disney CEO Bob Chapek for Saying Adults Don’t “Tune into animated movies”

The comment not only sparked outrage among the Disney fanbase but called into doubt Chapek’s understanding of his own consumer base. Further confusion was created by his strategies of merging consumer data from its streaming platform and the rides that visitors prefer at their globally established theme parks to provide a more unified and customized experience.

Bob Iger Shows Promise as the Prodigal CEO Returns

During Bob Iger‘s tenure at Disney, the company went on to amass a proprietary hold over some of the largest franchises in the constantly expanding Hollywood. With its acquisition of Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and 20th Century Fox, Iger had already proved his savvy skills at the business-minded expansion of the company while also ensuring to churn out a steady and increasing profit. Under Iger’s leadership, Disney further expanded its accessibility by investing in the direct-to-consumer platforms — Disney+ and Hulu. Disney’s market cap, under the prodigal CEO’s care, increased from $48 billion to $257 billion in the period of 15 years.

Bob Iger returns to Disney after 2 year retirement
Bob Iger returns to Disney after a 2-year retirement

Also read: Bob Iger “Retakes” Disney CEO Role During Crisis

Bob Iger’s stay at Disney has been one of the most inspirational, if not the most revolutionary period of a multi-billion dollar company’s transition into the modern century. The President-turned-CEO of The Walt Disney Company had taken over control in 2005 and radically transformed the structure of the house of the mouse until his tenure ended in 2020. Under his leadership, Disney not only witnessed a complete reorientation of business ventures but also added broad brushstrokes of IPs and achieved stratospheric success in its endeavors.

As the predecessor and successor of Bob Chapek, Iger’s return has been hailed and applauded since it could return Disney to its steadfastly reputed production line, overcoming the interim period marked heavily by change, experimentation, and controversies.

Source: Variety

Written by Diya Majumdar

At 25, Diya Majumdar is inching closer to getting to the bottom of every film and television's history in existence. Having graduated with honors in literature from Miranda House, DU, her passion and profession both include dissecting the world of cinema, with almost 500 published articles on Fandomwire. She is a liberally opinionated person with an overbearing love for Monet, Edvard Munch, and Van Gogh and boasts of being an avid painter of all their troubled works. If she’s not writing or painting, Diya can often be found in tattoo parlors across Delhi or on rooftops at 3 am listening to music.