An examination of Bob Iger’s return to his old post as CEO of Disney shows the extent to which he and the board of directors are at fault for the company’s problems. As the management of now former CEO Bob Chapek floundered, the board did not do a proper CEO search or promote anyone from Walt Disney Company’s (NYSE: DIS) management. They went to Iger and reinstalled him in a matter of hours. They turned their backs on the fact that one of America’s most famous CEOs had blundered late in his former tenure.
One proof that Iger caused some of Disney’s problems is that he has only been gone from management for months and not years. He left his post as executive chairman in December 2021. Unlike an outside chairman, he remained a major presence in the management of the entertainment company. Iger remained deeply involved in decisions, which made it difficult for Chapek to move out of Iger’s shadow.
Of the long list of mistakes Iger made, the primary one is how Disney+ was launched. Iger believed it could be among the dominant streaming services in the world. He gambled that content from Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel would create industry-leading demand. As subscribers grew, the count showed he was partially right.
However, Iger priced Disney+ much too low, which made moving prices to a level at which the business was profitable face major hurdles. Disney+ started to take subscribers in November 2019. The Covid-19 pandemic drove people indoors and helped lift subscriber counts across all major streaming services.
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