So that you simply came upon The Walt Disney Co. has a brand new CEO. You could be a die-hard Disney fan with an annual parks move, otherwise you would possibly simply occur to get pleasure from a Marvel film every so often. In both case, it’s possible that the information of Bob Chapek assuming the position of CEO at Disney has crossed your timeline. However Bob Iger was already going to retire, you would possibly word. Are we stunned or are we not? Why ought to we care?

As a result of Disney stands on the forefront of media in 2020.

Disney has the largest movies and theme parks on the planet, and is attempting to beat the whole lot from reside sports activities to streaming video. Who runs Disney and the way they accomplish that can have a substantial impression on our leisure for the foreseeable future. That’s why it’s essential to learn about Bob.

So, we’ve put collectively a easy, readable primer.

Earlier than we speak about Bob Chapek, why is Bob Iger such a giant deal?

The primary huge factor Bob Iger did as chief govt of The Walt Disney Co. was purchase Pixar Animation Studios. He went on to amass Marvel Leisure, Lucasfilm, and, most lately, 21st Century Fox. His time at Disney noticed him make very high-risk investments that paid off in billions and billions of {dollars}. You will have Iger to thank for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for the Star Wars sequel trilogy, and for the parade of mental property that makes up Disney Plus. To essentially get the total expertise of Iger’s legacy, check out his Twitter banner, whereby basic Disney characters frolic with Bart Simpson, a Na’vi from Avatar, Black Panther, Deadpool, BB-8, and Child Yoda.

Candy company synergy
Picture: Robert Iger/Twitter

Why did Bob Iger depart Disney?

Iger’s unique contract solely had him as CEO through 2018, however his tenure acquired prolonged to 2019, after which he would spend three years as a guide. Then it acquired extended again through 2021. We don’t know precisely what prompted Iger to name it quits halfway by way of the second extension, stepping again from the CEO place and assuming the position of govt chairman. He cited plans to concentrate on the “artistic” facet of the corporate and never the humdrum administration of operations.

Wait, if we knew Iger was leaving ultimately, why is that this shocking?

Right here’s the factor: Sure, Bob Iger was scheduled to step down in 2021, however he was nonetheless anticipated to stay CEO all through that point, not yeet out after 14 months. If something, this was presupposed to be introduced someday in 2021, with Iger staying on for a while afterward to assist ease within the new CEO. A random Tuesday afternoon in February is an uncommon time to make an announcement of this scale, particularly contemplating Disney had a often scheduled earnings name simply final month.

There’s one other shocking aspect, not less than for folk who observe the business intently. Whereas Bob Chapek is a really cheap selection for CEO of Disney, having been a part of the corporate for 27 years — see extra on this in a subsequent part — many consultants assumed that Iger’s eventual successor could be Kevin Mayer, who’s at present the chairman of Disney’s Direct-to-Client & Worldwide division.

Ooh, intrigue! So why did everybody assume Kevin Mayer could be the following CEO of Disney?

As Disney strikes aggressively into the streaming and direct-to-consumer area, many thought that Mayer could be a pure selection for CEO, given his work on Disney Plus. However retrospectively, it’s evident that whereas Mayer has been crushing it in his present position, he doesn’t actually have expertise in different areas of the corporate — divisions like parks, house media, and dealing with IP. Chapek, although, checks off all these bins.

Is Bob Iger leaving Disney completely?

As Iger (repeatedly) stated in an investor name following the large announcement, he is not going to be leaving Disney simply but. His contract continues to have him concerned with Disney by way of the tip of 2021, however he’s taking a again seat from the day-to-day administration of the corporate and can function “govt chairman.” Govt chairmen information the CEO, sharing each operational and board obligations. Previous CEO changeovers at Disney have usually concerned the brand new CEO taking on operational duties whereas the previous CEO stays onboard for a bit as chairman in an effort to ease the transition.

Iger stated that taking up this position will enable him to focus extra on the “artistic facet” and never be slowed down by operational obligations. Chapek will report on to Iger by way of 2021.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge marketplace

You possibly can thank Bob Chapek for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Picture: James Bareham/Polygon

So what did Bob Chapek do at Disney earlier than changing into CEO?

Bob Chapek has labored at Disney for 27 years. His most up-to-date gig was chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Merchandise, however earlier than that — between 2011 and 2015 — he was president of the previous Disney Client Merchandise division. Earlier than 2011, he was president of distribution for Walt Disney Studios.

All of those roles communicate to Chapek’s power in consumer-forward merchandise and experiences, one thing he says can be an ideal asset on this new age of direct-to-consumer companies. However Chapek’s profession additionally factors to his savvy at packaging Disney’s rising arsenal of IP — although some would possibly argue that that got here at a value to nurturing these assorted manufacturers.

Wait, what does chairman of no matter need to do with packaging IP?

Throughout Chapek’s tenure of virtually 5 years as chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Merchandise, the corporate opened Shanghai Disney. Extra importantly, numerous Disney-owned IPs made their approach into Disney Parks world wide, from full-on themed lands like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to extra one-note rebrands such because the Disneyland Tower of Terror’s transformation right into a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction. This has made him one thing of a controversial figure to Disney parks enthusiasts, who really feel that Chapek is extra involved with maximizing profits than maximizing guest experiences.

Whereas president of distribution for Disney’s movie division, Chapek supervised the corporate’s content material technique from theatrical to house launch. Keep in mind Disney’s “vault” technique, whereby basic movies have been locked up and never obtainable for buy till a Platinum/Diamond/Tremendous Mickey No matter version with two minutes of beforehand unseen footage was launched for a restricted time?

Please don’t inform me Bob Chapek invented the Disney Vault.

That’s Chapek, child, flexing his expertise at managing current property and packaging them up in new methods for shoppers — and worthwhile methods for the Large Mouse in Cost. Iger even bragged concerning the Disney Vault through the post-announcement investor call.

“As president of house leisure for the Walt Disney Studios, he spearheaded the extremely profitable vault technique that introduced Disney’s iconic movies and characters to new generations of viewers,” stated Iger.

Chapek comes into the position of CEO dealing with not simply Walt Disney Studios, however Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Studios. That’s a complete lotta IP for him to bundle up on this new direct-to-consumer age. (In the event you’re questioning the place Searchlight Footage — the indie division previously generally known as Fox Searchlight — matches in, it was acquired by Disney within the Fox deal however operates considerably independently, outdoors the Walt Disney Studios umbrella.)

What does this imply for Star Wars/Marvel/Pixar/[insert personal beloved franchise here]?

As one nameless Disney exec advised The Verge, it’s unlikely that Chapek will aggressively purchase IP in the identical approach that Iger did. As an alternative, Chapek will handle the prevailing IP and determine bundle it up for this new period of Disney. However no, Star Wars/Marvel/Pixar/20th Century Studios will not be going anyplace — in truth, be ready to see much more of them. Basically, consider Chapek because the Tim Prepare dinner to Iger’s Steve Jobs.

So how a lot is Bob Chapek making as CEO?

Chapek’s base wage is now $2.5 million per 12 months, in response to his employment agreement as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He’s additionally eligible for annual bonuses that can be focused to be on the very least 300% of his wage, though the precise quantity can be primarily based on his efficiency. (For these of you at house, that provides as much as probably $10 million a 12 months.)

Chapek will even be eligible for Disney’s equity-based long-term incentive compensation plan for senior executives, the place he’ll get “an annual award with a goal accounting award worth of $15 million” — once more, relying on efficiency and different components. This extra compensation sometimes takes the type of inventory choices, restricted inventory, efficiency shares, money, and/or stock-settled efficiency models.

Wait, how previous is Bob Chapek?

Chapek is 60, in response to Disney’s SEC submitting. A information story printed Nov. 12, 2009, by the Northwest Indiana Times says that he was 50 on the time and that he graduated highschool in 1977. That implies that Chapek was born in 1959, and can thus flip 61 later this 12 months. For now, although, his actual astrological signal stays a thriller.

What number of occasions is Bob Chapek talked about in Bob Iger’s memoir?

Iger printed a memoir, The Journey of a Lifetime: Classes Realized from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Firm, in September 2019. Chapek’s title seems in it simply twice. The primary time is within the prologue, through which Iger recounts the second he discovered from Chapek {that a} little one had been attacked by an alligator at Disney World’s Grand Floridian resort. The opposite is within the acknowledgments of the ebook. (For reference, Kevin Mayer seems in seven totally different chapters.)

Is that this the primary time Disney has had back-to-back CEOs with the identical first title?

Sure! Congrats to each Bobs, who get to not solely reside out the legacy of being Disney CEO, but additionally embody the Two Spider-Mans Pointing meme every day. Enjoyable reality: There are at present three separate C-suite executives at Disney named Alan.

two spidermen pointing at one another with BOB CHAPEK and BOB IGER written over

Picture: Petrana Radulovic/Imgflip

How have CEO transitions at Disney labored prior to now?

The primary Disney CEO was Walt Disney’s brother, Roy Disney. The 2 loved an identical creative-visionary-and-corporate-businessman pairing as Iger and Chapek now have. Technically, they have been equal companions in place and standing until after Walt Disney’s loss of life. Roy Disney took the title of CEO two years after his brother’s passing, and even postponed his retirement to see Walt Disney World by way of. He retired actually proper after it opened in October 1971, and died later that 12 months.

Donn Tatum, Roy Disney’s successor, had been Disney’s manufacturing enterprise supervisor, mainly Roy’s right-hand man within the formation of Disney World and different theme parks. When Roy Disney died, Tatum turned CEO. No drama there, although it’s notable that he was the primary non-Disney member of the family to imagine the position. Card Walker, who would turn into the following Disney CEO in 1976, took over as firm president. This subsequent transition additionally performed out easily: Very similar to within the Iger/Chapek state of affairs, Walker took over CEO duties whereas Tatum remained chairman for a while. When Walker’s personal retirement got here, he did the identical factor along with his successor, Ron W. Miller — although right here’s the place issues begin getting spicy.

Miller was Walt Disney’s son-in-law and never a well-liked selection for CEO, since he initially needed to be knowledgeable soccer participant and solely really started working at Disney as a result of his father-in-law was like, Hey, I can get you into the Administrators Guild, and he was like, Oh, phrase? After he took over in 1983, the corporate started to flounder. Only one 12 months later, Miller’s cousin-in-law Roy E. Disney and two shareholders ousted him in favor of Michael Eisner, Frank Wells, and Jeffrey Katzenberg.


It will get juicier.

This brings us to Eisner assuming the place of CEO, positioned there straight by Roy E. Disney in his coup. Eisner oversaw the corporate through the Disney Renaissance — after which into the period the place the studio was pumping out direct-to-VHS sequels to its beloved animated movies.

In an nearly Shakespearean parallel, Eisner was himself almost ousted by Roy E. Disney and his friends; they felt that underneath Eisner’s management, there have been too many field workplace flops into the brand new millenium, an excessive amount of micromanagement, and no clear succession plan. The takeover try didn’t fairly work, however Eisner stepped down from the CEO place in 2005 — a 12 months earlier than his contract expired — and named Iger as his successor. He didn’t want to do it, however he did, as a result of Disney’s board needed him out of there.

And that brings us to Iger, who has spent the final 15 years dramatically reshaping The Walt Disney Co. earlier than handing off the reins to Chapek. All issues thought of, though this announcement was sudden and Disney on this new period is huge and unknowable, Iger seems to be doing issues as near the standard approach as potential.

Regardless of the latest palace intrigue, Disney does have a historical past of peaceable transitions of energy. In brief, the way forward for Disney will rely upon Bob’s willingness to work with Bob.