Arnold has been a member of Disney’s board for 14 years and has served as its independent lead director since 2018.
The Walt Disney Company’s board of directors has named Susan Arnold as its new chairman to succeed outgoing chair Bob Iger.
Arnold has been the lead independent director since 2018 and has served on Disney’s board since 2007. She’ll take on the position when Iger leaves the company on December 31.
Iger, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, said: “Susan is an incredibly esteemed executive whose wealth of experience, unwavering integrity, and expert judgment have been invaluable to the company since she first joined the Board in 2007. Having most recently served as independent Lead Director, Susan is the perfect choice for Chairman of the Board, and I am confident the company is well-positioned for continued success under her guidance and leadership. It has been a distinct honour to work with Susan and our many other talented directors, and I am incredibly grateful for the support and wise counsel they have provided during my tenure.”
Arnold added: “On behalf of the Board, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Bob Iger for his extraordinary leadership over the past decade-and-a-half. Bob has led Disney to amazing heights both creatively and financially, with his clear strategic vision for delivering high-quality branded storytelling, embracing cutting-edge technology, and expanding internationally, and he’s left an indelible mark on The Walt Disney Company that will be felt for generations to come. As I step into this new role as Chairman of the Board, I look forward to continuing to serve the long-term interests of Disney’s shareholders and working closely with CEO Bob Chapek as he builds upon the Company’s century-long legacy of creative excellence and innovation.”
Arnold brings to her role extensive public-company board experience and in-depth knowledge of brand management and marketing, environmental sustainability, product and business development, international consumer markets, finance, and executive and risk management. She was formerly an operating executive of the equity investment firm The Carlyle Group, where she served from 2013 to 2021. Previously, she served as President—Global Business Units of Procter & Gamble from 2007 to 2009. Prior to that at Procter & Gamble, Arnold was Vice-Chair—Beauty & Health from 2006, Vice-Chair—Beauty from 2004, and President—Global Personal Beauty Care & Global Feminine Care from 2002. She was a Director of McDonald’s Corp. from 2008 to 2016, and a Director of NBTY, Inc. from 2013 to 2017.
Iger has served as Chairman of the Board since 2012, and as Disney’s Executive Chairman since 2020, directing the company’s creative endeavours. From 2005-2020 he led Disney as Chief Executive Officer.
Disney evolved significantly under Iger and continues to during the Chapek era, and the board aspect of the company’s progress will be interesting to watch. While Iger redirected the company’s resources and strategic focus toward direct-to-consumer streaming, Chapek has made a number of dramatic moves, many in response to Covid. He created a centralised distribution organisation, retooled theme parks and introduced new film-release windows, including some major titles debuting simultaneously in theatres and on Disney+.