With Disney stock already slumping with the rest of the stock market this week, shares fell even further after the surprise resignation of CEO Bob Iger — one of the most powerful people in Hollywood — on Tuesday.
Iger will remain a part of the company as chairman of the Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) board.
Perhaps the biggest shock was who the company picked to replace Iger as the new face of Disney: Bob Chapeck, the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products will assume the role of CEO.
The announcement of Chapeck didn’t resonate with investors as Disney shares were down 24.2%% to $122.78 by 2:20 p.m. EST after already falling about $10 a share since Friday.
Iger attempted to assuage any fears of transitioning by giving Chapeck a strong vote of confidence.
“Bob will be the seventh CEO in Disney’s nearly 100-year history, and he has proven himself exceptionally qualified to lead the company into its next century,” Iger said, in a news release. “Throughout his career, Bob has led with integrity and conviction, always respecting Disney’s rich legacy while at the same time taking smart, innovative risks for the future.”
Why Chapeck Is A Surprise
Because of its push into the video streaming market, it was expected by analysts that Kevin Meyer, the company’s chairman of direct-to-consumer and international, would be Iger’s replacement.
Meyer was responsible for overseeing the global launch of Disney+, which has been viewed as wildly successful.
In the first three months of operation, the streaming service has added 28.6 million new subscribers and Disney’s forward price-to-earnings ratio has jumped because of it.
Currently, Disney’s P/E ratio is nearly 21 compared to ViacomCBS Inc.’s (Nasdaq: VIAC) ratio of four.
This means Disney has a significantly higher share price value compared to its earnings per share.
So making its parks chairman the new CEO is somewhat of a head-scratcher.
Who is Bob Chapeck?
Chapeck will step into the shoes of Iger, who oversaw the company’s rise over the past 15 years.
Chapeck has been with the company for 27 years and has helped its parks, consumer products and studio film business achieve massive gains.
He helped usher in a new resort in Shanghai, China, the doubling of its cruise line and expanding Star Wars and Marvel attractions at both Disneyland and Disney World.
What’s Next For Disney?
Well, Iger isn’t going anywhere until 2021. While he won’t be Disney’s CEO, he will be there to guide Chapeck as its board chairman.
In an interview with CNBC’s Julia Boorstin, Chapeck said he knows it will be difficult to replace someone like Iger.
“Right now, the course that Bob has laid is one that we fully intend to follow and I think will pay dividends for our shareholders for years to come,” he said.
Because Iger is staying on, the Disney ship should still sail on a course to continued profitability. However, that course will have to resume after the temporary dip it faced with this latest surprise.