In 2019 Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger is set to step down. Recently Iger confirmed his intention to retire. This has left both the business and Disney communities speculating about who is replacement would be. With under two years to go until Iger retires, the transition would need to get underway to set up a future CEO up for success. Now, inside sources are telling Bloomberg that Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek is the leading contender for this role.
Chapek has worked in many roles at The Walt Disney Company over the last 24 years. This includes being president of Disney Consumer Products and he was also president of Distribution for The Walt Disney Studios. Chapek can now add to his resume that he is leading the 145,000 cast members, imagineers, and crew members that make up Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. It should also be noted that the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts have been solid performers for Disney. Chapek has successfully led Shanghai Disney to a profitable first year open. Domestically Chapek announced a new Star Wars themed hotel in Florida and Marvel attractions in California are on the horizon. He also has re-structured pricing and introduced a tier system for park tickets. Disney announced on a recent investor call that it will be expanding its investment in theme parks budget by $1 billion. All of these seem to be indicators that there is trust (and enthusiasm) for the leader of Disney Theme Park and Resorts.
Will Bob Chapek really be the next heir apparent for The Walt Disney Company though? Two men who were previously thought of as contenders, Jay Rasulo and Tom Staggs, left the company after being considered potential contenders to be the next CEO of Disney. Staggs was even promoted to COO before he left Disney. With a hard retirement timeline set for Iger, this time could be different.
At this point, there are no announcements to be made by Disney and all of this is based off insider chatter. However, there does seem to be some logic in this story. What do you think of the possibility of Bob Chapek becoming the next CEO of Disney? Let us know in the comments below!