Bob Chapek, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, made it known in a recent interview that he does not appreciate being called a “number cruncher”, “an outsider”, and a “cost-cutter”. He has been CEO for nearly 2 years and had a rough start to say the least.
Chapek took over for Bob Iger just before the pandemic hit. “He’s had a rough year and a half,” said producer Alan Horn. That year and a half began with mass layoffs, executive wage cuts, a lawsuit from one of Disney’s biggest stars, just to name a few.
Changes have also been made at the Disney theme parks that most fans do not like and blame Chapek for. Chapek was reportedly booed at the 50th anniversary celebration at Walt Disney World and there’s even a petition going around to have him replaced.
In his interview, Chapek resents being compared to his predecessors Bob Iger and Michael Eisner. Those two are seen as more “creatives” whereas Chapek is only seen as a “bean counter”. He was essentially an “unknown” in the industry as he came from the business side of things. His actions as CEO have worried “some actors, directors, and agents in Hollywood.”
Chapek has been restructuring the company and making major changes to the production and distribution teams which were highly critiqued by former Disney executives. One former executive said that under Chapek Disney “became a club where the old members reasserted themselves. The only qualification they had was they had to have been around for 30 years at Disney and nowhere else.”
Bob Iger also reportedly expressed concern to other executives. “He said the company was changing and he was concerned by the lack of innovation, the lack of strategy,” says one senior executive. Iger will be leaving at the end of the year and Chapek will be on his own for the first time.
Under Chapek we’ve seen the release of the Disney Genie App, the death of the Disney Store, cost cutting on theme parks, higher prices and more of a focus on streaming than Disney’s theatrical output. If he doesn’t like his current reputation, he might want to try a different strategy other than charging more for less.
What are your thoughts on Bob Chapek?
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