Bob Iger will remain as CEO of The Walt Disney Co. through the end of 2026, agreeing to a two-year contract extension that will give the entertainment and theme park company some breathing room to find his successor.
Shares climbed before the market open on Thursday.
Iger rejoined Disney as CEO in November, taking over control of the company from Bob Chapek. He had previously served as CEO and chairman from 2005 to 2020 and then as executive chairman and chairman through 2021.
Chapek’s short tenure was met by much criticism, particularly from Disney park loyalists who openly criticized Chapek on social media. The perception among many fans was that Chapek had a “business first, customer last” mentality.
Iger wasted no time once back in the CEO role, making one of his priorities reconnecting with the Disney theme park die-hards and restoring their faith in the brand.
“Because I want to ensure Disney is strongly positioned when my successor takes the helm, I have agreed to the board’s request to remain CEO for an additional two years. The importance of the succession process cannot be overstated, and as the board continues to evaluate a highly qualified slate of internal and external candidates, I remain intensely focused on a successful transition,” Iger said in a statement.
Iger’s has attempted to protect Disney World’s theme park district from a takeover by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Disney sued DeSantis in late April, alleging the governor waged a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” after the company opposed a law critics call “ Don’t Say Gay.”
Last month attorneys for DeSantis, a state agency and his appointees to a revamped board that governs Disney World asked a judge to dismiss the federal lawsuit.
Disney’s board gave Iger their full support, voting unanimously to extend his contract.
“Bob has once again set Disney on the right strategic path for ongoing value creation, and to ensure the successful completion of this transformation while also allowing ample time to position a new CEO for long-term success, the board determined it is in the best interest of shareholders to extend his tenure, and he has agreed to our request to remain Chief Executive Officer through the end of 2026,” Chairman Mark Parker said in a statement.