NEW YORK - MARCH 12: Founder of the Torante Company Michael Eisner speaks on stage during the Nickelodeon Upfront Presentation at the Hammerstein Ballroom on March 12, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Nickelodeon) *** Local Caption *** Michael Eisner
Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner Comments on Bob Iger and Bob Chapek
In a new interview with CNBC, Michael Eisner, former CEO of The Walt Disney Company, talked about Disney’s switch from Bob Iger to Bob Chapek as CEO.
“I am a big fan of Disney,” Eisner said. “I am a fan of both Bobs. Yes I hired him [Chapek]. Is he the same executive as I am, or Bob [Iger] is, or anybody is? He is his own guy. He was very good at Disney when I was there. He took our home video business from a rental to a sell-through business. That was very risky. He did a very good job in the parks. I am a shareholder. I think he’s going to do very well.”
Eisner was CEO from 1984 to 2005, hiring Chapek in 1993 as the marketing director for Buena Vista Home Entertainment. Iger took over after Eisner left the company and then stepped down as CEO in early 2020, handing the reigns over to Chapek, although staying on as a chairman through 2021.
“We’ve talked about it,” Eisner said about Iger stepping down. “Having 50 unanswered emails, and seven scripts you haven’t read and 30 phone calls you haven’t returned…Getting off that treadmill is not a horrible thing. I think he is interested in writing another book, looking at his opportunities. He is not 25 years old, as I’m not. Between ABC and Disney, he spent many years at one institution. I think he is coming up for air and you will hear about him and things he will be doing and his wife Willow [Bay] will be doing in the future.”
About both Iger and Chapek, he said, “There is no loser here. I don’t think the shareholders are losers here, or the consumers are losers here, or certainly either of them.”
Regarding how business has changed during the pandemic, he said, “Bob [Iger] did extremely well. We did OK. I wouldn’t discount Disney. Disney went through…this pandemic. That does change a lot of things. I wouldn’t throw away your Disney tickets to the theme parks quite so early.”
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