Disney CEO Bob Iger’s second stint as boss of the House of Mouse will last just two years, the media titan said Thursday.
Iger, who shocked the business world when he returned to lead the entertainment and media empire last November, said the two-year window was stipulated in his contract.
“Well, my plan is to stay here for two years, that’s what my contract says, that was my agreement with the board, and that is my preference,” Iger told CNBC on Thursday.
Iger, 71, said one of his main tasks in his return to Disney will be to help the board “succeed at succession” — something that didn’t go well the last time he handed over the reins.
Iger handpicked Chapek as his successor before riding off into the sunset after 15 years of running the company in 2020. But the board removed Chapek, 62, after a tumultuous two-and-a-half-year reign, which included political fights with Florida’s Republican governor and state legislature over the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Iger’s first few months have been challenging. He had to fend off a proxy fight from activist investor Nelson Peltz over the company’s $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox as well as the Mouse House’s failed succession plan.
But Iger’s plan to slash 7,000 jobs as part of an effort to achieve $5.5 billion in cost savings has placated Peltz. The boss of Trian Fund Management, which owns around 9.4 million Disney shares worth some $900 million, said he was ending the proxy battle.
“Now Disney plans to do everything we wanted them to do,” Peltz told CNBC on Thursday.
“We wish the very best to Bob [Iger], this management team and the board,” Peltz said.
“We will be watching. We will be rooting.”
Peltz added: “The proxy fight is over.”
Shares of Disney rose by some 3% after the opening bell on Wall Street on Thursday.
Investors had been spooked by the $1.1 billion in losses incurred by Disney’s streaming division in the fourth quarter of last year.
Iger told CNBC on Thursday that one of his top priorities is to make Disney’s streaming division profitable. He said streaming was “the future.”
Iger outlined the cost-cutting plan to investors Wednesday during the company’s fiscal first-quarter earnings call, in which Disney beat analyst estimates.
The company reported adjusted earnings per share of 99 cents, ahead of the average analyst estimate of 78 cents, according to Refinitiv data.
Net income came in at $1.279 billion, below analyst estimates of $1.429 billion. Revenue hit $23.512 billion, ahead of Wall Street estimates of $23.4 billion.
Additional Reporting by Alexandra Steigrad