Bob Iger

Former Disney CEO Bob Iger Speaks About Importance of Corporate Statements and Regrets Not Raising Disney Minimum Wage Sooner

In this week’s episode of “Who’s Talking To Chris Wallace?” on CNN+, Wallace spoke to former Disney CEO Bob Iger. Iger spoke about why it is important for corporate leaders to make statements regarding issues like climate change, immigration, and legislation.

He said in the interview, “A lot of these issues are not necessarily political. It’s about right and wrong. So I happened to feel, and I tweeted an opinion about the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill in Florida. To me, it wasn’t about politics. It is about what is right and what is wrong, and that just seemed wrong. It seemed potentially harmful to kids.”

Iger tweeted a condemnation of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill in February, well before current Disney CEO Bob Chapek finally denounced it. Chapek initially said that “corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds.”

Iger also said about climate change and immigration, “I had to contend with this a lot, and the filter that I used to determine whether we should or should not weigh in considered a few factors. What would its impact have on our employees, on our shareholders, and our customers? And if any one of those three constituencies had a deep interest in or would be affected by whatever was the matter at hand, then it was something I thought we should consider weighing in on.”

Wallace asked if Iger considered if the statements were “going to tick off people.”

“There are going to be people who aren’t going to like what [you] are saying,” Wallace said, “and maybe that means fewer people will come to the theme park.”

Iger responded, “We never really saw much evidence of that, even though there were threats about boycotts on certain things. Again, when you are dealing with right and wrong, and when you are dealing with something that does have a profound impact on your business, I just think you have to do what is right and not worry about the potential backlash to it.”

Iger also said he has regrets about not raising the minimum wage of Cast Members sooner after Wallace played a clip from Abigail Disney’s “The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales,” which criticizes the pay of theme park Cast Members versus the CEO salary.

“You were making that year 1,000 times what the average Disney employee was making,” Wallace said. “Do you have any misgivings about that?”

“I’ve never been defensive about what I made,” Iger said. “I was paid at a level that was commensurate with what most heads of large media companies were paid throughout my tenure and often less than, interestingly enough, and Disney was among the most complex and the largest and the most successful of them all.”

He said that Disney created more jobs during his tenure and that employees receiving minimum wage also “earned overtime, got good benefits, and were promoted over time as well.” He also pointed to the launch of the Disney Aspire program, which helps pay for the education of hourly employees.

“If I have regrets,” he went on, “it would be one, and that is that, we were one of the first companies, by the way, to go to $10 an hour as the starting wage. We were being pushed to go to 15. There was some hesitation in that regard because of the cost associated with it. We should have done that right away. My opinion.”

Source: Deadline

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  1. Chapek is right, corporate leaders do very little to change outcomes or minds.
    I would add, corporations and their leaders have no business getting involved in such issues on a corporate basis.

  2. I’ve been working 12 hour days, Monday-Friday, every single week since July 1st last year on hourly pay. “Earning overtime” makes it sound like a bonus. It is not.

  3. Again, these fat cat CEOs are so miserably out of touch with reality. Iger doesn’t care about anything he talked about in that interview, only shareholder value. It appears that personally he leans to the left, which is fine, but that view should NEVER enter the board room or break rooms of the company. Leave personal views and politics at the door, along with your feelings, and come to work to entertain guests and create magic for them – it’s that simple! Iger nor Chapek get it. Pathetic.

  4. “You were making that year 1,000 times what the average Disney employee was making,” Wallace said. “Do you have any misgivings about that?”

    He did not answer that question, that speaks volumes of what he really thinks.

  5. Go away Iger. You had your run. Chapek and the new Board want Disney to be less political. But you were the one who dove the company head-long into the political mire, and have been stirring-up trouble behind the scenes and with public interviews.

  6. People seem to forget that Disney threatened to stop filming in Georgia twice. Once in 2016 when there was a Anti-Gay bill which was passed by the legislator and after threats from the Movie industry was vetoed by the governor. Then again in 2019 with an anti-abortion law. Iger did make statements concerning politics that effected workers and new free market soft power was a tool he could use. Issue here is Disney can’t pack up and move Disneyworld.

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