Disney Shares Jump On News That Robert Iger Is Back As CEO

Shares of Walt Disney Co. (DIS) are up 8% on news that Robert Iger is returning to run the company after current chief executive officer (CEO) Bob Chapek was suddenly and immediately dismissed by the entertainment company’s board of directors.

In a surprising development, Disney’s board said that it had re-appointed Iger as CEO effective immediately after Chapek had been let go.

“It is with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility — and, I must admit, a bit of amazement — that I write to you this evening with the news that I am returning to The Walt Disney Company as Chief Executive Officer,” Iger wrote in an email to employees.

The change in leadership comes nearly three years after Iger stepped down as Disney CEO, and days after Chapek said he planned to cut costs at the company, which has been spending heavily on its Disney+ streaming service.

Earlier in November, Disney reported earnings that missed Wall Street forecasts by a wide margin. Iger’s return also comes as media companies struggle with a slowdown in advertising and as competition intensifies among streaming companies.

Iger has reportedly signed on to work as Disney’s CEO for two years, and will help the company’s board develop a new successor during that time period.

Bob Chapek was named Disney CEO in February 2020, succeeding Iger, who had previously said he wouldn’t return to the company after he retired.

Soon after Chapek took over, COVID-19 forced the shutdown of Disney’s theme parks and prevented it from releasing movies in theatres. Nevertheless, the company’s stock soared in 2021 as the Disney+ streaming service took off with people locked down at home.

Iger previously ran Disney for 15 years. He oversaw the company’s acquisitions of Pixar, Lucasfilm and its “Star Wars” properties, and Marvel – all of which have become multi-billion-dollar franchises for Disney.

Disney’s stock has collapsed this year and fallen 41% to $91.80 U.S. per share.