Wait, what? Did you say Bob Iger is returning to Disney? Yes. Yes, we did. Well, in all truth he never left, as he moved from CEO of Disney to Chairman of the Board. On April 12, 2020, the New York Times broke the news of Bob Iger returning to the helm of the Walt Disney Company. Cheers from Disneyphiles around the globe could be heard by all. The question remains, what does Bob Iger returning really mean? Let’s take a look at what we could expect with the return of the king!
A Little Background
It’s all about history. If you know us, you know all our great stories start with a little background. No need to break from tradition! Our story begins on February 25, 2020, a day that we will always remember. On this day news broke that Bob Iger was stepping away from his position as CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and Bob Chapek would be taking over. Effective immediately. It was a changing of the Bob’s. Or as they are called within the company Bob and Bob C. Of course, the original Bob should be called Bob.
Fast forward a few weeks, March 16, 2020, to be exact, and everything around the world changed. Thanks, coronavirus! (#sarcasim). For a full breakdown on how the Walt Disney parks have been impacted by COVID-19 please reference the following article. Needless to say, Bob C was stepping into a situation that not many leaders have ever experienced.
Why The Return?
The big question! Why is Bob Iger returning? There are a couple of reasons why Bob is retaking the helm of The Walt Disney Company. First and foremost is experience. Not many leaders, especially with Disney knowledge, have experience with a large downturn in the economy. If we look to the future, a day when the Disney parks reopen, it is projected that it will take upwards of 18 months for tourism around the world to rebound. The last time we saw this type of drop-in travel was 2008 and then previously in 2001.
Who worked for Disney during both those times? That’s right, Bob Iger. He was COO in 2001 and CEO in 2008. No one is better equipped to guide The Walt Disney Company through the coming months than Bob. Especially, with his experience during 2001 and restructuring of how the parks operated as it relates to the safety of all its cast members and guests.
The second big reason for Bob Iger returning is his media experience. No, we’re not talking media in the form of interviews, but as it relates to content creation. Disney’s original plan had Bob focusing on the creative side of the company, mainly Disney+, while Bob C got his feet under him. In a time where streaming services and at-home content are at a premium, it would make sense to have the person leading the content charge take the lead.
Ultimately, these two areas are what is going to help The Walt Disney Company rebound from this crisis. It is well-known these are the two areas that Bob C needs to as part of his six-month ramp-up to leading the company.
What About Bob C?
How could we not make that joke? Give yourself 10 points if you got the reference to the quirky 1991 film. With Bob Iger returning as the company’s leader, what does it mean for Bob C? On April 15, 2020, a few days after news broke of Bob Iger returning, The Walt Disney Company announced Bob C has been elected to the Board of Directors.
The election to the Board of Directors sends a clear message to Bob C. That message is The Walt Disney Company still believes in him as CEO and does not want to lose him as the heir apparent. Things could change depending on how everything plans out in the coming months, but more than likely Bob C will return as the leader of The Walt Disney Company.
One word, comforting. There is something comforting knowing the person leading The Walt Disney Company through this crisis has somewhat been there before. We are surely heading into uncharted water for when the parks reopen and it could be some time before things “return to normal”. One thing is for certain with Bob steering the ship, The Walt Disney Company is in good hands. There is only one thing left to say, welcome home Bob!