• Disney on Tuesday named Bob Chapek its new CEO effective immediately.
  • Chapek – previously chairman of Disney parks, experiences, and products – succeeds Bob Iger, who will remain with the company and lead its “creative endeavors,” as well as serve as executive chairman through 2021, when his contract expires.
  • Iger said during an investor call on Tuesday that he wanted to focus on the creative side of the business, which he called his No. 1 priority now that there is a strategy in place for the Fox assets and Disney Plus has launched.
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Bob Chapek is the new CEO of Disney, effective immediately, the company announced Tuesday.

Chapek, who formerly was the company’s parks, experiences, and products chairman, succeeds Bob Iger.

Disney stock was down 2.5% in after-hours trading after the announcement.

Iger, 69, will remain with Disney and lead the company’s “creative endeavors,” as well as serve as the board’s executive chairman through the end of his contract on December 31, 2021. Iger had been CEO since 2005, when he succeeded Michael Eisner. Iger had renewed his contract in 2017.

During an investor call on Tuesday, Iger said the CEO transition was “not accelerated for any particular reason” and that Chapek was identified “quite some time ago” as his likely successor. Iger explained the leadership change by saying he wanted to be freed up to focus on the creative side of the business – which he called his No. 1 priority before retirement – now that a strategy is in place for its direct-to-consumer services and Fox assets. Iger said he wanted to turn the “day-to-day management” of Disney over to Chapek.

“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,” Iger said in a statement. “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 endeavors.”

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In Iger’s 15 years as CEO, he led the company through several major acquisitions, including that of Pixar, in 2006, Marvel in 2009, Lucasfilm in 2012, and Fox’s film studio and many of its TV assets last year for $71.3 billion. He also led the company through the launch of its streaming-TV platform, Disney Plus, in November, which Disney said earlier this month had 28.6 million subscribers.

Chapek, who told a story on the investor call Tuesday about his yearly family vacations to Disney World growing up, has been with the company for 27 years. He was named chairman of Disney parks and resorts in 2015 and then chairman of parks, experiences, and products in 2018 when the division was created. Before those roles, he was head of Disney’s consumer products, and before that, he was president of distribution for the Walt Disney Studios.

In Chapek’s role as chairman of parks, experiences, and products, he oversaw the opening of Disney’s first park in mainland China, Shanghai Disney Resort (which is closed because of coronavirus concerns), and the opening of the “Star Wars” attraction “Galaxy’s Edge” at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.