Bog Iger In, Bob Chapek Out: Former Disney CEO Returns to Take His Position Again

Credit: Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube Screenshot

Credit: Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube Screenshot

Disney made a shocking shakeup leaving many surprised Sunday. Bob Iger returned as Disney CEO two years after leaving the post to Bob Chapek.

Bob Iger Returns As Disney CEO After Leaving The Position To Bob Chapek For 2 Years

Disney announced late Sunday that it had re-appointed Bob Iger as chief executive effective immediately, two years after he handpicked Bob Chapek as his successor, NBC News reported.

"It is with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility — and, I must admit, a bit of amazement — that I write to you this evening with the news that I am returning to The Walt Disney Company as Chief Executive Officer," Iger wrote to employees in an email obtained by CNBC (via NBC News).

"We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic," said Susan Arnold, chairman of Disney's board of directors. "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."

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Disney Employees Shocked With The Sudden Change?

The news came as a huge surprise to Disney employees, including its senior executives, industry sources told Variety. Staffers reportedly only learned the reversal in the press release emailed by Disney's corporate communications team. Initially, they reportedly received the news with skepticism thinking it was some kind of phishing scam or internet hoax.

The news broke around 6:45 p.m. P.T. when a number of Disney leaders were attending a pre-show reception at Dodger Stadium for Elton John's farewell show, which aired as a live stream on Disney+. Disney and ABC executives were also out in force at the Microsoft Theater in Hollywood for ABC's live telecast of the American Music Awards.

Chapek's firing came after he made poor decisions amid the unprecedented pandemic. Last week, Jim Cramer called for his replacement, citing Disney's "balance sheet from hell."

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Bob Iger Says He Is 'Thrilled' To Return As Disney CEO

Iger also released a statement following the confirmation of his return as Disney CEO. According to him, he was "thrilled" to be back in his old captain's chair.

"I am extremely optimistic for the future of this great company and thrilled to be asked by the Board to return as its CEO," Iger said in a statement obtained by Variety. "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."

In a memo to the staffers, he also acknowledged their contribution to the company and informed them of hearing more from him and the other leaders in the coming weeks.

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"I know this company has asked so much of you during the past three years, and these times certainly remain quite challenging, but as you have heard me say before, I am an optimist, and if I learned one thing from my years at Disney, it is that even in the face of uncertainty—perhaps especially in the face of uncertainty—our employees and Cast Members achieve the impossible," he said.

"You will be hearing more from me and your leaders tomorrow and in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, allow me to express my deep gratitude for all that you do. Disney holds a special place in the hearts of people around the globe thanks to you, and your dedication to this company and its mission to bring joy to people through great storytelling is an inspiration to me every single day."

What can you say about Bob Iger's return as Disney CEO?

Stay tuned for more news and updates about Disney.

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