Chapek, 60, who led Disney’s theme parks and consumer products businesses, takes over immediately, the company said.
Disney on Tuesday announced that Bob Iger is stepping down after 15 years as CEO of the media giant, and Bob Chapek will succeed him in the role.
Meanwhile, Iger will assume the role of Executive Chairman and direct Disney’s creative endeavours, while leading the company’s board to ensure a smooth transition through the end of his contract on December 31, 2021.
Chapek is a 27-year company veteran who led Disney’s home-video business during the DVD era, before transitioning to consumer products. In that role, he reorganised the business to cut costs and focus on franchises, including the Frozen toy craze. Before joining Disney in 1993, Chapek worked in brand management at HJ Heinz Company and in advertising at J Walter Thompson.
Under the new role, Chapek will directly oversee all of the company’s business segments and corporate functions. Chapek will report to the Executive Chairman, Iger, and the Board of Directors. He will be appointed to the Board at a later date. A new head of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products will be named at a future time.
Commenting on the appointment, Chapek said: “I am incredibly honoured and humbled to assume the role of CEO of what I truly believe is the greatest company in the world, and to lead our exceptionally talented and dedicated cast members and employees. Bob Iger has built Disney into the most admired and successful media and entertainment company, and I have been lucky to enjoy a front-row seat as a member of his leadership team. I share his commitment to creative excellence, technological innovation and international expansion, and I will continue to embrace these same strategic pillars going forward. Everything we have achieved thus far serves as a solid foundation for further creative storytelling, bold innovation and thoughtful risk-taking.”
On a call with investors on Tuesday, Iger said: “With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO. I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney’s multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the Company’s creative endeavours.”