Day later Shocking announcement of Bob Iger’s return to Disneyand with the firing of his predecessor-turned-successor, Bob Chapek, a surprised Hollywood is grappling with what exactly this move will mean for the entertainment giant’s short and long-term future.
But while there are many questions, two things are clear. First, investors are thrilled that he is once again ruling the Magic Kingdom. Disney shares rose more than 6% on Monday after the Dow Jones fell slightly. Second, Iger is moving quickly — without even waiting a full 24 hours to announce sweeping changes — to undo Capek’s company reorganization.
The speed at which Iger is rushing is especially remarkable given that the Disney board of directors only on Friday suggested that Iger return to the struggling company. “It literally started on Friday and ended on Sunday,” a person with knowledge of the matter told CNN, adding that Iger “felt obligated to come back because he really cares about the company.”
Now he already names big plays.
A version of this article first appeared in the Reliable Sources newsletter. Sign up for a daily digest of the evolving media landscape here.
In a memo sent Monday night to employees of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, a key body of the company that Capek created, that disappointed some creatives, Iger announced that Kareem Daniel, a division chief and Capek ally, “will be leaving the company.” ”
Iger also announced that the entertainment giant will be undergoing a larger transformation when he returns to the helm. “In the coming weeks, we will begin implementing organizational and operational changes across the company,” Iger wrote to employees. “I intend to restructure things in a way that honors and respects creativity as the heart and soul of who we are.”
Iger added that he asked Dana Walden, Alan Bergman, Jimmy Pitaro and Christine McCarthy “to collaborate on the design of a new structure that brings back more decision-making power to our creative teams and rationalizes costs.” Eiger said the goal is “to create a new structure in the coming months.”
In addition to Aiger’s reorganization of Capek’s reorganization, the head of Disney may also reverse another key decision made by Capek, which will take effect in just a few weeks: raising the price of Disney+. Iger launched Disney+ for just $6.99 a month, and according to CNBC’s Alex Sherman, informed, his strategy was to “raise prices slowly over time”. Chap, however, abandoned this method of operation earlier this year when he raised the price to a whopping $10.99 per month.
Looking to the future, there are many bigger questions: what will Disney look like when Iger’s two-year contract expires? How is Iger positioning and changing the company in the digital age? Could he have made a move to get rid of ABC and the broadcasting department? Or perhaps make a mega deal to eat up a company like Netflix? Or will Disney itself be eaten up by a big tech giant like Apple?
One source at the talent agency noted that the most important question Iger will have to answer is how he will “surpass his last run as CEO.”
“The world is a lot more complicated than it was a few years ago and it will be hard to live up to the reputation he has earned as the most formidable media CEO,” the source said. “And it will have a short runway to please Wall Street, its employees, creative partners and audiences.”
“So much for getting to the top.”