- Disney CEO Bob Iger spent months undermining his successor Bob Chapek, the Wall Street Journal reported.
- Despite being out, he reportedly kept an office and held meetings with Chapek’s staff without consulting him.
- Iger was reinstated as Disney’s CEO by its board in November, ending Chapek’s two-year tenure.
Returning Disney CEO Bob Iger spent months undermining his successor Bob Chapek before retaking the top job at the behest of senior executives, according to a Wall Street Journal report detailing the power struggle between the two men.
Ige retakes the role after less than three years out of the business.
Despite stepping down as CEO in 2020 and ostensibly stepping away entirely from Disney at the end of 2021, Iger retained his office at the firm’s Burbank, California headquarters, according to the report. He also held meetings with Chapek’s staff without inviting him, the Journal reported, citing current and former Disney executives and people familiar with the events, infuriating the new CEO.
Iger also reportedly undermined Chapek by telling a friend the latter was a poor leader and not up to scratch.
Disney’s board dramatically reinstated Iger as CEO last month amid broader dissatisfaction with Chapek’s leadership.
Insider’s Claire Atkinson reported that the decision came together in just a few days after a senior executive reached out to Iger. His return has been welcomed by employees, with one executive likening it to a “pipe dream.” Iger was also swamped by fans at Disneyland wanting selfies and autographs earlier this month, according to the Journal.
Other execs were considering leaving if Chapek stayed in the CEO role, a senior figure at Disney told Insider, expressing frustration with his leadership and decision-making.
Chapek, formerly chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, consistently came under fire during his two-year tenure.
Price increases for park tickets and food outpaced inflation, and the firm began charging for previously free offerings, like specific shuttles to the parks and the FastPass service that allowed park attendees to cut certain lines, Insider’s Samantha Delouya reported. The firm experienced its biggest one-day stock drop the day after its latest earnings call, during which it revealed a $1.3 billion loss on its streaming business. Staffers also took issue with a restructuring that deprived creative execs of power.
He was criticized internally and by industry figures for making decisions without enough information, the Disney insider told Insider last month.
Disney and Iger were not immediately available to respond to Insider’s request for comment made outside of US working hours.