The chief executive is stepping down immediately, to be replaced by Bob Chapek.
The news was revealed in a surprise announcement on Tuesday. The Walt Disney Company named Bob Chapek as his successor. Most recently chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Bob Chapek will be the seventh CEO in Disney history. He was previously president of Disney Consumer Products between 2011 and 2015.
The company said it was an “optimal time” for Bob Iger to step down, following Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s entertainment assets and the launch of Disney Plus streaming service in November.
Bob Iger became chief executive in 2005, and has steered the company through the purchases of Star Wars, Marvel and Fox’s entertainment businesses, as well as the successful acquisitions of Lucasfilms, Pixar and other brands that have proved lucrative moves for Disney. Although he is stepping down immediately, he will remain executive chairman until the end of his contract, which is 31st December 2021.
Susan Arnold, independent lead director of the Disney board, said succession planning had been ongoing for several years.