Bob Iger, CEO, The Walt Disney Firm
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Disney reappointed Bob Iger as its chief executive just lately, abruptly changing his hand-picked successor Bob Chapek, and giving Iger an early objective — discover a new alternative throughout the subsequent two years.
Iger’s consideration has quickly turned to the other part of his mandate from the board — the immediate challenges facing Disney’s business, corresponding to the corporate’s reorganization, price construction and the long run development of its streaming enterprise. However that hasn’t quelled hypothesis about who his successor might be.
Media trade executives and firm observers are placing collectively a roster of potential candidates Iger and the board will seemingly contemplate in deciding whom to groom for the function subsequent. The pool of potentialities embody former Disney executives who had been beforehand thought of the way forward for the Mouse Home earlier than being handed over for Chapek, a couple of inner rising stars and a few sleeper picks who’re both near the artistic group or have already got ties to the corporate.
One other risk some contemplate is that Iger, whose return was applauded by Wall Street and workers, sticks round longer than his two-year contract.
Here is a take a look at a few of the individuals who might be subsequent in line to guide Disney.
Dana Walden, Chairman of Leisure, Walt Disney Tv speaks onstage throughout the twenty fifth anniversary of UCLA Jonsson Most cancers Middle Basis’s “Style for a Treatment” occasion at Fairmont Century Plaza on April 29, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Wealthy Polk | Getty Pictures
Earlier than calling Iger, Disney’s board thought of a couple of inner candidates to exchange Chapek, however in the end determined they had been too new to tackle the assorted pressures on the corporate, CNBC beforehand reported.
One of many candidates thought of was Dana Walden, mentioned folks accustomed to the matter who weren’t licensed to talk publicly on the subject. She is the pinnacle of basic leisure content material and in command of creating unique leisure and information programming for Disney’s streaming platforms, broadcast and cable networks.
Walden’s been recognized to have a hands-on function with content material creators. In Iger’s first memo to employees following his reinstatement, he talked about Walden as among the many high lieutenants who would work with him on Disney’s new construction, which might put “extra decision-making again within the arms of our artistic groups and rationalizes prices.”
“Disney will seemingly select a successor that leads with expertise relationship capabilities,” mentioned Eric Schiffer, CEO and chairman of Patriarch Group and Repute Administration Consultants. “The downfall of Chapek is he maimed Hollywood relationships.”
One of many notable missteps made by Chapek throughout his fast flip as CEO was his handling of Scarlett Johansson’s pay dispute.
Walden took on her function in June after her boss, Peter Rice, was ousted after clashing with Chapek. Like Rice, Walden got here to Disney in 2019 as a part of the corporate’s acquisition of twenty first Century Fox’s belongings.
When she was promoted, Chapek had referred to as Walden “a dynamic, collaborative chief and cultural drive who in simply three years has reworked our tv enterprise right into a content material powerhouse.” On the time, Disney’s board had put its support behind Chapek. Nonetheless, Walden lacks expertise on enterprise choices, and has targeted her time on the artistic facet.
In the meantime, Rice could also be keen on returning to the corporate in some capability and has remained in touch with Iger, folks near the matter mentioned.
Alan Bergman, Chairman, Walt Disney Studios Content material
The Walt Disney Firm through Getty Pictures
Alan Bergman, who’s been with Disney for greater than 25 years, is one other potential candidate, the folks have mentioned. He’s the chairman of Disney’s studio content material and spearheaded the combination of Iger’s acquisitions into Disney’s total content material pipeline. He additionally was talked about in Iger’s first memo.
As well as, Bergman has rapport with many creatives in Hollywood. Disney depends on these relationships, and he might need a softer hand in coping with expertise and brokers than what was seen with the Chapek and Johansson dispute. Not like different high executives at Disney, nonetheless, Bergman would not have expertise in lots of different divisions and has targeted a lot of his profession on studio content material.
One other Disney insider floated as a attainable candidate has been Josh D’Amaro, folks accustomed to the corporate have mentioned.
D’Amaro is head of Disney’s parks, experiences and merchandise, the identical place Chapek held earlier than changing into CEO. His lengthy monitor document on the firm — he started his profession at Disney in 1998 and his positions have principally centered round resorts — might bode effectively for him.
As does his charisma. D’Amaro is usually popular with his friends and the forged members on the parks and regarded a powerful chief. Whereas there have been complaints by friends at Disney’s home parks that costs are steep and the ticket-reservation system is flawed, few have blamed D’Amaro. As a substitute, Chapek has taken the brunt of criticism, with friends and analysts assuming the previous CEO was liable for setting strict pointers for driving extra income on the parks and resorts.
Nonetheless, D’Amaro would not have the artistic expertise that Iger is usually lauded for. His resume is targeting the resorts and parks companies.
Rebecca Campbell, who’s at the moment in command of Disney’s worldwide content material and operations, is one other candidate that Iger could favor, folks accustomed to the matter mentioned.
The chief, who has labored in varied divisions of the corporate after beginning on the native TV facet in 1997, can also be well-liked. Nevertheless, whereas she additionally has expertise working the streaming enterprise in Disney+’s earlier days, she was faraway from the place and will not have the hands-on enterprise expertise to make the powerful choices going through the corporate’s media enterprise.
If Campbell or Walden had been to ascend to the CEO place, it will be the primary time Disney had a lady within the high job.
A darkish horse candidate from throughout the group could be Sean Bailey, the president of Disney Studios, one observer mentioned. Bailey, who’s maintained a relationship with Iger, is popular with the artistic group.
Kevin Mayer, co-founder and co-chief govt officer of Candle Media, chairman of DAZN Group, speaks on the Milken Institute Asia Summit in Singapore, on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.
Bryan van der Beek | Bloomberg | Getty Pictures
Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs had been former Disney executives who had been additionally within the working for the job earlier than Iger settled on Chapek in early 2020.
Each left the corporate after being handed over. Many had pegged Mayer specifically because the seemingly successor. His identify has as soon as once more floated again to the highest of the listing.
“This downside did not need to occur,” Engine Gaming and Media Govt Chairman Tom Rogers said on CNBC recently, ticking off the attributes wanted for somebody on this function, corresponding to understanding the media enterprise, a streaming monitor document, capacity to construct up franchise content material and being a deal-maker.
“That they had that individual, it was Kevin Mayer,” mentioned Rogers, the previous president of NBC Cable. “They nonetheless have that individual, he is nonetheless the suitable selection. The board made a mistake, I hope they do not make that mistake once more.”
Mayer had been Disney’s longtime head of technique, and was concerned in offers just like the twenty first Century Fox acquisition.
Earlier than Mayer left, he had some of the vital jobs on the firm — growing and launching Disney+. Since leaving Disney, he had a brief stint as CEO of TikTok and later joined billionaire Len Blavatnik’s funding agency Entry Industries and have become chairman of sports activities streamer DAZN.
Mayer and Staggs additionally run the leisure startup Candle Media, the place they’ve flexed their M&A expertise with current offers like Reese Witherspoon’s Hi there Sunshine and kids’s content material maker CoComelon.
For Mayer or Staggs to return to Disney, Iger would seemingly have to accumulate Candle Media. Mayer has excellent obligations to acquired firms and has no real interest in leaving his present job, in accordance with folks accustomed to the matter. It is attainable Iger might see CoComelon as a very good mental property match for Disney+, though Iger mentioned at a city corridor Monday he is not keen on any mergers or acquisitions for Disney within the close to future.
Considerably outdoors of the Disney bubble, Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz might be one other contender, the Disney observer famous. Kreiz has bought two firms to Disney: Fox Youngsters Europe, which bought a majority stake to Disney in 2001, and Maker Studios in 2012.