BURBANK, CA – Bob Chapek, whose two-year tenure as Disney CEO has been much-maligned for skyrocketing prices at the company’s theme parks and a perceived progressive “agenda” in its entertainment content that has caused its stock to plummet, was fired on Sunday in a move that shocked the industry, with former CEO Bob Iger returning to take over once again.
Chapek, 62, has been Iger’s hand-picked successor when the previous CEO had decided to retire after running Disney for15 years; however, Iger has been lured back to his old job after Chapek failed to successfully guide the iconic brand back to its peak after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Disney Chairwoman Susan Arnold said in a statement on Chapek’s ouster on Sunday, expressing appreciation for his time with the Mouse House and wishing him all the best in his future endeavors.
“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” she said; Chapek did not release any statement in regards to his firing.
Over the course of the last year, Disney’s stock has dropped over 40 percent for a variety of cited reasons, with one of the more prominent being a perceived pivot away from the company’s family-friendly movies and television programming in favor of far-left progressive content that has clashed with the more conservative sensitivities of much of its user base.
Under Chapek’s watch, Disney Florida park also lost longstanding and lucrative tax breaks after the company’s decision to publically protest Governor Ron DeSantis’ Florida Parental Rights in Education Act – also known as the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law – which prohibits “classroom instruction” on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through grade 3.
The Disney Board of Directors stood firmly behind the decision to lure Iger out of retirement, saying that he was the only man quailed to help the entertainment conglomerate transition to a new era.
“Bob is uniquely situated to lead the Company through this pivotal period,” the Board said. “He has deep respect of Disney’s senior leadership team, most of whom he worked closely with until his departure as executive chairman 11 months ago.”
Iger, 71, issued an email to the company, announcing his comeback.
“Dear Fellow Employees and Cast Members. It is with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility-and, I must admit, a bit of amazement-that I write to you this evening with the news that I am returning to The Walt Disney Company as Chief Executive Officer,” he said. “I am in awe of your accomplishments and I am excited to embark with you on many new endeavors. I know this company has asked so much of you during the past three years, and these times certainly remain quite challenging, but as you have heard me say before, I am an optimist.”