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Disney CEO Bob Iger Steps Down

Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger attends the European premiere of The Lion King in London, July 14, 2019. (Henry Nicholls/Reuters)

Bob Iger on Tuesday stepped down as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, effectively immediately.

“With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Iger wrote in a statement.

Iger, who has served as CEO since 2005 and oversaw the company’s acquisitions of Star Wars, Marvel, and 21st Century Fox, as well as the launch of the Disney+ streaming service, said Tuesday that he wishes to spend more time on Disney’s “creative side.”

“I could not do that if I had to run the company on a day-to-day basis,” Iger said on a phone call with reporters. “It was not accelerated for any particular reason other than I felt the need was now to make this change.”

Bob Chapek, the former chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, will replace Iger as chief executive, the board of directors announced.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to assume the role of CEO of what I truly believe is the greatest company in the world,” Chapek said in a statement. “Bob Iger has built Disney into the most admired and successful media and entertainment company, and I have been lucky to enjoy a front-row seat as a member of his leadership team.”

Iger will now step into the role of executive chairman of the mammoth entertainment company through 2021, Disney said. The former CEO said that he has the “utmost confidence” in Chapek and will be “working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role.”

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