Last week marked the first anniversary of Bob Iger’s return as Disney’s CEO, a remarkable event and public acknowledgment of the failed tenure of its former leader Bob Chapek.
Upon replacing Chapek, Iger stated that his top priority was to find $7.5 billion in annual cost reductions, saying that the company had lost its focus as it spent lavishly pursuing new subscribers to its streaming platforms. In 2023, Iger met his cost savings goal by laying off 8,000 employees and raising the subscription prices for all its streaming services.
This week in an interview at NYTimes’ Dealbook Summit, Iger acknowledged that it has been a painful process and “much more challenging” than he had anticipated. He indicated that he was “disappointed” in the leadership of his predecessor Bob Chapek, and felt that he “owed it” to Disney to agree to the board’s request that he return as CEO and right the ship.
When asked why films like THE MARVELS, WISH, INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY underperformed at the box office, Iger pointed to the previous leadership “overproducing to feed the streaming platforms”, which diluted the quality of the product. Heading into 2024, Iger said that his “number one priority” would be to help the movie studio improve creatively after 2023 has been among the studio’s worst-performing years at the box office.