Bob Chapek Claims to Resent His Reputation as a ‘Bean Counter’ CEO in New Interview

Katie Francis

Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek is Main Contender to Replace Bob Iger

Bob Chapek Claims to Resent His Reputation as a ‘Bean Counter’ CEO in New Interview

Katie Francis

Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek is Main Contender to Replace Bob Iger

Bob Chapek Claims to Resent His Reputation as a ‘Bean Counter’ CEO in New Interview

Bob Chapek wants the world to see him as more than a bean counter as he approaches the start of his second full year as Disney CEO. “He’s had a rough year and a half,” producer Alan Horn told Christopher Grimes and Anna Nicolaou of the Financial Times.

That “rough year and a half” began with mass layoffs of around 28,000 Cast Members during the start of the pandemic and executive wage cuts (which were restored while most Cast Members continued to be stuck in furlough), and continued with a lawsuit from one of Disney’s biggest stars, the replacement of the free FastPass program with a new paid service, and a petition calling for his removal from the company with over 80,000 signatures.

“I’ve seen creativity in this company through every lens possible,” Chapek said in an interview with Grimes and Nicolaou, “It ties us to our ultimate constituent, which is the consumer.”

Chapek chafes at the appraisal that he is “an outsider, a number-cruncher, a cost-cutter” in comparison with his predecessors Bob Iger and Michael Eisner, who were viewed as “creative people at heart.”

Compared to Iger, who rose to success at Disney through the film industry, Chapek was seen as an “unknown” in the industry. His rise to CEO “worries some actors, directors, and agents in Hollywood.” His focus on streaming services doesn’t alleviate those worries.

Disney fans may remember Chapek as the champion of the Disney Vault, a fictitious safe which housed classic Disney films away from the public. Movies were released for a limited time before going “back in the vault,” creating false scarcity. Now, Chapek has moved on from the Vault and become the champion of Disney+.

Chapek’s protest against his bean counter reputation comes after the latest quarterly earnings call, in which he made public his desire to have Disney enter the sports betting business.

Chapek has been restructuring the company and its priorities. In addition to former BP executive Geoff Morrell as Chief Communications Officer and former Procter & Gamble executive Susan Arnold as Chairman of the Board, Financial Times reports that Chapek made major changes to the production and distribution teams which were highly critiqued by former Disney executives.

One former executive claims Disney under Chapek “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.”

Iger 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.

With Iger departing at the end of this year, Chapek will be on his own for the first time since he took the position last spring.

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25 thoughts on “Bob Chapek Claims to Resent His Reputation as a ‘Bean Counter’ CEO in New Interview”

  1. “I’ve seen creativity in this company through every lens possible,” Chapek said. Then stripped it down to the basics.

  2. Just got back from a week at the parks. Prior visit was 5 years ago. No question, it felt very different and not in a good way. Both wife and I were thinking a 10 year anniversary trip this summer before we got back and afterwards we both said “I’m good for a while if not forever”.

  3. Bean counter is the best thing I can say about this clown. Disney fans hate him. The stock is near its 52 week low, wall street won’t be far behind. I hope his days are numbered.
    Save the world, can Chapek.

  4. Please – his ‘tough’ 16 months were all caused by him. So he has only himself to blame. He’s destroying Disney daily. Anyone else notice the week of Christmas, reservations are available for all 4 parks? LOL

  5. A ‘Chepak’ doesn’t change its spots. The Disney Vault was the early warning sign, it’s only going further downhill from here.

    Maybe his position came with the evil Queen’s mirror (from Snow White) which told him that he was the fairest bean counter of them all.

  6. Chapek’s reputation as a bean counter is well earned. For god sake the trams at Disney World aren’t even running yet, a year and a half after the parks reopening. He let one of his top executives openly mock his customers by telling them they may try to boost profits by cutting portions which would be good for their waistlines. He’s not a champion of the customers but simply trying to squeeze every last ounce of juice out of them before he tosses them to the side like yesterdays orange peel. He can’t even show his face at D23, so how long can he be the face of the company?

  7. sports betting really? Why not a Casio where I could take my 5 and 8 year old grandkids to teach them how to gamble! That sounds like a place Walt said that the parents could have a little fun with their kids. That makes this sound like a bean counter. keep raising EVERYTHING and you will kill the Disney Dream

  8. Mr Chapek, try listening to your customers. If they are telling you the product “Disney Experience ” is disappointing, maybe you should listen!

    Your profiting at the expense of the company’s 80 years of “goodwill”, which will run out!! In the short term Disney won’t feel it, but over the long term your foundation will crumble and the walls come tumbling in.

  9. Vice President Jonathan Storey is pure Walt Disney, but he could be let go because all The Disney Stores are being closed. This is a giant mistake. Jonathan is a great leader and is truly held in very high esteem by all those who worked for him. Bottom line Chapek out, Jonathan Storey move up.

    • Who is Jonathan Storey is he like Walt and does he know other people who are like Walt & Roy with other folks and it does not matter if it is a man or woman that will keep them grounded and on the right path? I know Walt would not like what is going on from the books & articles that I have and read about him and his life. Disney needs a good leader & as far as Chapek and anyone who he has put in leadership positions needs booted out of Disney and anyone else like them also. Now as far as the Board of Directors some of Walt’s & Roy’s decendents needs to be on the board to make sure of Disney going in the right direction. Now the investors needs to have just a modeste return instead of a huge one if they do not want to lose it all!!!!

  10. I’ve called him much worse.

    Just returned from our first trip back since C-19. The parks are different…and NOT in a good way. Chapek is quickly chipping away at the magic.
    He should be happy to be called a bean counter. He’s the worst.

  11. He’s ruined Disney for a ton of people. I only hope he’ll at least consider scrapping this new Disney genie thing or at least make it free again after seeing the amount of complaints! Walt would have hated the way he’s running things and there is nothing magical about the parks anymore.

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