In a video by Variety, Bob Iger sits down with J.J. Abrams and discusses how he became the head of The Walt Disney Company.
“It’s interesting looking back on a career that’s 42 years at ABC Disney, and a year as a weatherman. It kinda looks like it’s a straight line to the outside world, but in many ways, it’s not at all. There are turns left and right and starts and stops, and so as I think back at how I got where I am and what decisions did I make and how much ambition did I feel or did I exhibit, I pretty much was about doing the job that I was given and trying to be great at it.”
Bob Iger was named COO of Disney in 2000 before succeeding Michael Eisner at CEO in 2005. Since then, Iger has grown Disney’s line-up of intellectual properties acquiring Pixar in 2006, Marvel Entertainment in 2009, and Lucasfilm in 2012. He’s also introduced new theme parks, like Hong Kong Disneyland Resort in 2005 and oversaw the newest park, Shanghai Disneyland Resort, in 2016.
Obviously, after earning Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm throughout the years, they’ve been heavily promoted throughout Disney Parks. Recently, Toy Story Land opened at Shanghai Disneyland and will open this summer at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World. Toy Story Playland has had a home at Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris since 2010 and Hong Kong Disneyland has had Toy Story Land since 2011. On June 23rd, 2018, Pixar Pier will open in Disneyland. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will find homes at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World in 2019. Avengers: Infinity War has surpassed the billion dollar mark, showcasing the powerhouse that The Walt Disney Company is. Marvel is slowly, but surely, being incorporated into the parks, too, like the renovation of Disney’s Hotel New York in Disneyland Paris to showcase Marvel in a contemporary art style. And, of course, there’s the highly-anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy roller-coaster going in Epcot.
“It wasn’t quite a straight line, but it was a not a plan, either. It was never either a desire or a plan for me to start at the bottom and work my way to the top. I just wanted to do well at whatever I was given.”
But Iger did work his way to the top, and over an eleven year span, Disney’s market capitalization value increased from $48.4 billion to $163 billion. In 2011, it was announced that Iger would also be named Chairman of the Board at the company after he expressed his visions of international expansion, technological innovation, and a renewed focus on traditional animation as Disney’s top strategic priorities.
“I’ve been, throughout these 40 some-odd years, I’ve been really lucky to be taught by some pretty special people.”
And although Iger said he was originally going to retire in 2019, it seems as though he’ll be sticking around through at least 2021 because of the pending Disney-Fox deal.