On Monday, The Walt Disney Company’s Tom Staggs announced he will be stepping down. With his current position as chief operating officer (COO), Variety reports that this move was made in part by there being no “assurance” for Staggs in the successor role of Bob Iger as chairman-CEO. Staggs’ role will come to an end on May 6, 2016.
The company’s board of directors was quoted saying, “will broaden the scope of its succession planning process to identify and evaluate a robust slate of candidates for consideration.” Many are speculating that the future successor of Iger might be someone outside of Disney. Iger is set to retire in 2018.
Staggs, who has been in the company for 26 years, was a well-known man throughout. Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research Group said, “This was surprising. The company had all but telegraphed that Staggs was to be Iger’s successor.”
As quoted by The New York Times, Bob Iger shared these words, “Tom has been a great friend and trusted colleague for more than 20 years. He’s made important contributions to this company, earning wide respect across the organization for his achievements and personal integrity. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together, immensely grateful for the privilege of working with him, and confident that he will be enormously successful in whatever opportunity he chooses.”
In many ways, choosing a successor for Mr. Iger is a near-impossible task. Under his leadership, Disney has made a number of transformative acquisitions, including buying Marvel Entertainment, Lucasfilm and Pixar Animation Studios. Last year, Disney had $8.4 billion in profit, a 12 percent increase from the year before.
As Staggs steps down as COO, he will continue to work for the company until the end of fiscal year in September. For the time being, he will work as “special adviser to Iger,” as noted by The Hollywood Reporter.
Staggs too shared a few words about his announcement, “Disney truly stands alone, not only because of the company’s phenomenal creativity, but also because of the thousands of remarkable people who make it such an extraordinary place. It’s been a privilege to work with them and be inspired by their creativity and commitment. It’s also been a great experience to work with Bob during this dynamic era of unprecedented growth and transformation. I remain grateful for that opportunity, and I’m confident that Disney’s future will be just as exciting as its legendary past.”
With news heard ’round, the future chairman of the company remains a mystery. What are your thoughts on this announcement?