A day after the shocking announcement of Bob Iger’s return to Disney and the ousting of his successor-turned-predecessor Bob Chapek, an amazed Hollywood is wondering what exactly this move means for the entertainment giant in the short and long term. coming.
But if the questions that arise are not lacking, two things are certain. First of all, investors are thrilled that he’s reigning over the Magic Kingdom once again. Disney shares ended Monday up more than 6% on a day when the Dow Jones was down slightly. Second, Iger is moving quickly — not even waiting a full 24 hours to announce sweeping changes — to dismantle Chapek’s corporate reorganization.
The speed at which Iger is rushing is particularly remarkable given that Disney’s board of directors only made their opening for Iger to return to the beleaguered company on Friday. “It literally started on Friday and ended on Sunday,” a person with knowledge of the matter told CNN, adding that Iger “felt compelled to come back because he really cared about the business.”
Now he is already calling big plays.
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In a Monday night memo sent to employees of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, a key arm of the Chapek-created company that has frustrated some creatives, Iger announced that Kareem Daniel, the division chief and an ally of Chapek , “would leave the company”. ”
Iger also announced that the entertainment giant will undergo a wider transformation with him back at the helm. “Over the next few weeks, we will begin to implement organizational and operational changes within the company,” Iger wrote to employees. “I intend to restructure things in a way that honors and respects creativity as the heart and soul of who we are.”
Iger added that he asked Dana Walden, Alan Bergman, Jimmy Pitaro and Christine McCarthy to “work together on designing a new structure that puts more decisions in the hands of our creative teams and streamlines costs.” Iger said the goal “is to get the new structure in place in the coming months.”
Apart from Iger’s reorganization or Chapek’s reorganization, the Disney chief could also reverse another key decision made by Chapek that is only weeks away from taking effect: the Disney+ price hike. . Iger launched Disney+ at just $6.99 a month and, as CNBC’s Alex Sherman reported, his strategy was to “slowly increase prices over time.” Chapek, however, ditched that modus operandi earlier this year when he jacked up the price to $10.99 per month.
Looking further into the future, bigger questions abound: What will Disney look like when Iger’s two-year contract is up? How will Iger position and reshape the business in the digital age? Could he make a move to get rid of ABC and the broadcast division? Or maybe execute a mega-deal to eat up a company like Netflix? Or will Disney itself be devoured by a Big Tech giant like Apple?
A source at a major talent agency pointed out that the biggest question Iger will have to answer is how he will “reach his final run as CEO.”
“The world is a much more complicated place than it was a few years ago and it’s going to be tough to live up to the reputation he’s built as the most successful media CEO. great of all time,” the source said. “And he’s going to have a short run to please Wall Street, his staff, his creative partners and the public.”
“So much to come out on top.”