Disney’s Bob Iger bids farewell ahead of exit

Outgoing Disney executive chairman Bob Iger penned a farewell post on social media Friday as he formally exits the company that he helped to build into a global entertainment powerhouse.

Iger, 70, is set to retire when his contract expires at the end of the year after a lengthy run as Disney’s top executive. He has served as Disney’s executive chairman since stepping down as CEO in early 2020.

“This is the end of my 47 1/2 yr ABC @Disney journey and it was ‘the ride of a lifetime,’” Iger said in a Twitter post. “Enormous thanks to my colleagues & fellow cast members & special thanks to my wife Willow & my 4 children: Katie, Amanda, Max & Will. I couldn’t have done this without your love & support.”

Susan Arnold, a longtime member of Disney’s board of directors, is replacing Iger as chairman of the board. She will work closely with CEO Bob Chapek as Disney attempts to navigate a difficult pandemic-era business environment that has impacted its theme parks, cruise lines and content production.

Iger has emerged as one of the country’s most influential business leaders since he took over as Disney CEO in 2005. He played a key role in the company’s most crucial initiatives, including its acquisitions of animation giant Pixar in 2006, Marvel in 2009, Star Wars parent LucasFilm in 2012 and 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets in 2019.

Iger took over as CEO in 2005.
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The longtime executive also spearheaded the launch of Disney’s streaming division, which includes mainstream properties Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu. The flagship Disney+ platform had more than 118 million global subscribers as of October.

Iger detailed his experiences in a 2019 memoir entitled “The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company.”

Bob Iger and Mickey Mouse
Iger said he was excited to ‘watch some college football without having to worry about the outcome of the ratings.’
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“I officially became CEO on Oct. 1, 2005, and I really have not had a day off since,” Iger told Variety ahead of his exit. “Not a day off. I’m looking forward to what I’ll call a true day off. And I’m not talking about a day on my boat where I’m answering emails all day and screening rough cuts.”

Iger will have his first day off on Jan. 1.

Bob Iger posing with Harrison Ford and J.J. Abrams.
Iger played a key role in the company’s most crucial initiatives, including Star Wars parent LucasFilm in 2012.
Getty Images for Disney

“I guess I’m going to watch some college football without having to worry about the outcome of the ratings,” Iger added.

Iger has yet to say what he plans to do in retirement, though the outlet he has “no interest in running another company.”