Bob Iger to return as Walt Disney CEO

The Walt Disney Company brought back Bob Iger Sunday evening to lead the company as its chief executive.

"I am extremely optimistic for the future of this great company and thrilled to be asked by the Board to return as its CEO," Iger said.

"Disney and its incomparable brands and franchises hold a special place in the hearts of so many people around the globe — most especially in the hearts of our employees, whose dedication to this company and its mission is an inspiration," he said. "I am deeply honored to be asked to again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling."

Robert A. Iger spent more than four decades at the company, including 15 years as its CEO, and agreed to serve as Disney's CEO for two years, with "a mandate from the Board of Directors to set the strategic direction for renewed growth," according to a Disney statement. He is also expected to work with the Board to develop a successor at the end of his term. Under his previous leadership, Disney acquired Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox.

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Iger succeeds Bob Chapek, who "stepped down from his position," according to the company statement.

"We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic," said Board Chair Susan Arnold. "The Board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the Company through this pivotal period.

Mr. Iger has the deep respect of Disney's senior leadership team, most of whom he worked closely with until his departure as executive chairman 11 months ago, and he is greatly admired by Disney employees worldwide — all of which will allow for a seamless transition of leadership," Arnold said.