Bob Iger and successor Bob Chapek rarely spoke after change in Disney leadership

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Disney agreed to pay former CEO Bob Iger $10 million per year to advise his replacement before he made a sensational return.

Iger retired after 15 years as the top executive at Disney, with Bob Chapek taking his place in February 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic started, but Iger made a shock return to the post following extended periods of loss for the company.

The Financial Times this week reported that Iger was receiving regular installments for consulting until the end of 2026 “on such matters as his successor as chief executive officer may request from time to time.”

Chapek did not appear to make use of this asset, and Iger reportedly told friends about his frustration that Chapek had not sought his advice during a turbulent time for the company, such as Disney’s response to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill.

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“Iger never forgave Chapek for the way Chapek distanced himself and took control of the company,” one former executive told the Times. “In some ways, Iger thought he would still be the coach. Chapek was not willing.”

Disney inked $10M deal with Bob Iger to consult his replacement despite icy relationship: report

Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger attends the Exclusive 100-Minute Sneak Peek of Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back at El Capitan Theatre on Nov. 18, 2021, in Hollywood, California.  (Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney / Getty Images)

Disney announced that the consultancy would stay on pause while Iger fulfilled his active duties as CEO, but that he would resume the consultancy upon leaving the company again. Iger currently has a two-year contract.

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Iger’s return comes with a big shakeup as he announced plans for significant “organizational and operating changes within the company” over the coming weeks.

Disney inked $10M deal with Bob Iger to consult his replacement despite icy relationship: report

Bob Chapek, then-chief executive officer of Disney, speaks at the 2022 Disney Legends Awards during Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, Sept. 9, 2022.  (REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni / Reuters Photos)

“It is my intention to restructure things in a way that honors and respects creativity as the heart and soul of who we are,” Iger wrote in a memo disturbed throughout the company.

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He noted that “this is a time of enormous change and challenges in our industry, and our work will also focus on creating a more efficient and cost-effective structure.”

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
DIS THE WALT DISNEY CO. 98.87 -0.01 -0.01%
SONY SONY GROUP CORP. 82.89 +0.69 +0.84%
WBD WARNER BROS. DISCOVERY INC. 11.47 +0.13 +1.15%
CMCSA COMCAST CORP. 35.65 +0.12 +0.34%

The announcement prompted Disney’s stock to rally with a 6.3% increase after a 40% decline over the past year, Reuters reported.

Under Iger in his previous tenure as CEO, Disney acquired Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. Iger also oversaw the launch of Disney+.

Operating losses in the direct-to-consumer segment grew by roughly 134% year-over-year to $1.47 billion in the fourth quarter this year.

FOX Business’ Eric Revell contributed to this report.

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