Crisis at Disney: Bob Iger to take over as CEO from Bob Chapek

Bob Igor's return to CEO comes on the heels of DeSantis' victory in Florida. The Republican governor had a major battle with the entertainment giant in April.

One year. That's how long Bob Chapek made it as CEO of the Walt Disney Company. This Sunday, the entertainment giant announced that Chapek was stepping down from his position effective immediately.

The company decided to bring back Bob Iger, who retired at the end of 2021 (although he had delegated his CEO position to Iger in February 2020). This return is temporary and will last two years. Susan Arnold, Chairman of the Board of the Walt Disney Company, was in charge of announcing this decision in the following statement:

We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. The Board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the company through this pivotal period.

Bob Iger regains his CEO position after leaving the company last year. (Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

Financial problems

Chapek's resignation comes a week after Disney announced that it will make cuts that could include laying off part of its workforce. The solution could be to bring back Iger who, as he says, is "thrilled" to return as CEO to Walt Disney Company:

I am extremely optimistic for the future of this great company and thrilled to be asked by the Board to return as its CEO. Disney and its incomparable brands and franchises hold a special place in the hearts of so many people around the globe—most especially in the hearts of our employees, whose dedication to this company and its mission is an inspiration. I am deeply honored to be asked to again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling.

Disney's decision caught many off guard. Chapek had renewed his contract in July of this year until 2025 and, in fact, had the full backing of the company, as Arnold assured just a few months ago:

Disney was dealt a tough hand by the pandemic, yet with Bob at the helm, our businesses—from parks to streaming—not only weathered the storm, but emerged in a position of strength. In this important time of growth and transformation, the Board is committed to keeping Disney on the successful path it is on today, and Bob’s leadership is key to achieving that goal. Bob is the right leader at the right time for The Walt Disney Company, and the Board has full confidence in him and his leadership team.

DeSantis' war with Disney

The Walt Disney Company, however, is not going through its best times. DeSantis' victory in Florida presents serious problems for the entertainment giant. The two have been fighting a tough battle for months. It all started in April of this year. Chapek openly criticized the bill known as 'Don't Say Gay' that DeSantis was trying to pass and assured that the company would be "reevaluating" its political donations.

Following this, the Republican governor decided to cut tax benefits to force the company to pay taxes (something it was exempt from as a children's theme park). He also allowed commercial flights to fly over the park, which caused noise problems that effected Disney's shows. Disney hopes to alleviate these measures with Bob Iger as executive chairman.