In Hollywood stunner, Robert Iger returns to head Disney as Bob Chapek exits

In a seismic shock to Hollywood, former longtime Disney boss Robert Iger will return to run the entertainment giant, Disney’s board of directors announced Sunday night.

“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney throughout his long career, including leading the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” said CEO Susan Arnold. “The board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex phase of industry transformation, Bob Iger is in a unique position to lead the company through this pivotal phase.”

The move comes four months after the board gave Chapek three more years at the helm of the company, citing strong leadership during the pandemic.

Chapek’s leadership has come under scrutiny after a series of missteps, including a legal battle with star Scarlett Johansson and, more recently, a public row with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that prompted the governor to target laws favoring Disney’s business in the state.

Still, Disney’s streaming service has performed well despite intense competition.

In 2020, Iger stepped down as Disney’s chief executive after 15 years in office.

Iger shaped the company with several key games. In 2006, Iger led Disney to buy Pixar Animation Studios from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to salvage Disney’s ailing animation business.

This was followed in 2009 by the deal to buy Marvel Entertainment, which resulted in a virtually uninterrupted run of box office winners produced by Kevin Feige. In 2012, Disney bought Lucasfilm from George Lucas and relaunched the Star Wars franchise with a new trilogy.

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