For the first time since 2005, The Walt Disney Company will have a new CEO.

The company announced today via press release that Bob Iger was stepping down as CEO, effectively immediately, to be replaced by the company’s Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Bob Chapek.

Iger will remain involved with Disney under a new role, as Executive Chairman, until his contract ends on December 31, 2021, supposedly “to ensure a smooth and successful transition” to Chapek’s CEO-ship. Here is Iger’s comment on the news, from the press release:

With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO. I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney’s multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the Company’s creative endeavors.

Iger was the sixth CEO of Disney, replacing Michael Eisner some 15 years ago. During his tenure, he oversaw explosive growth in the company, along with the acquisitions of companies like Marvel, Lucasfilm, and most recently 20th Century Fox, all of which greatly expanded the company’s presence in movie theaters, on television, and in pretty much every corner of global popular culture.

Chapek has been with Disney since 1993, and served in a variety of positions; he’s been the head of Disney Parks since 2015; in 2018 his role was expanded to include other areas. “He has proven himself exceptionally qualified to lead the Company into its next century,” Iger said in his statement. “Throughout his career, Bob has led with integrity and conviction, always respecting Disney’s rich legacy while at the same time taking smart, innovative risks for the future. His success over the past 27 years reflects his visionary leadership and the strong business growth and stellar results he has consistently achieved in his roles at Parks, Consumer Products and the Studio.”

It will be interesting to see how soon this shift is felt by Disney customers, if at all. Iger has been a steady presence at the company for a long time. But. now things are about to change.

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