‘Bob Iger and the Fight for the Soul of Disney’ Book — Also Known As ‘Bob vs. Bob’ — Sells to HarperCollins

Shannen Ace

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Bob Iger below Disney Company sign

‘Bob Iger and the Fight for the Soul of Disney’ Book — Also Known As ‘Bob vs. Bob’ — Sells to HarperCollins

“The House of Mouse: Bob Iger and the Fight for the Soul of Disney,” an upcoming book by Wall Street Journal’s Robbie Whelan, has sold pre-emptively to HarperCollins imprint William Morrow.

Bob Iger, Disney's current CEO.

Matthew Belloni announced the sale via the Puck newsletter, and Whelan posted about the news on Friday.

While the book’s current title is “The House of Mouse: Bob Iger and the Fight for the Soul of Disney,” Belloni also referred to it as the “Bob vs. Bob” book, implying it will heavily focus on the relationship between Bob Iger and Bob Chapek.

“A lot of people say that Bob Iger is the most talented media executive of all time, but until now, no one has taken on the project of putting his legacy under a journalistic lens,” Whelan said.

Bob Iger & The Walt Disney Company

Bob Iger below Disney Company sign

Bob Iger began working for ABC in 1974, performing menial labor on TV sets and working his way up through the ranks. By 1988, he was serving as the senior program executive for the Calgary Winter Olympics, which achieved record-high ratings for the network.

He was named head of ABC Entertainment in 1989. During his tenure, he greenlit shows that have made lasting impressions like “Twin Peaks” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”

He was president of the ABC Network Television Group from January 1993 to 1994. He was named Capital Cities/ABC senior vice president in March 1993 and then executive vice president in July 1993. The next year, he was named president and COO of Capital Cities/ABC.

When The Walt Disney Company purchased ABC in 1995, Iger remained chairman. He was named president of Walt Disney International in February 1999.

He was promoted to president and COO directly under CEO Michael Eisner in January 2000.

In March 2005, Disney announced that Iger would be taking over the position of CEO from Eisner. Eisner officially exited the company in September 2005.

Iger became famous for all of Disney’s acquisitions during his tenure as CEO, starting in 2006 when the company purchased Pixar. Iger also re-acquired the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit that year.

In 2009, Disney purchased Marvel Entertainment, and in 2012, they purchased Lucasfilm. In 2011, Iger became chairman of Disney’s board.

Iger’s CEO contract was extended multiple times, until he officially announced he would retire in 2020. In early 2020, the board of directors named chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Bob Chapek as his replacement.

Due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Iger retained many CEO duties as he stayed on as chairman of the board. He officially retired on December 31, 2021.

Not even a full year later, on November 20, 2022, the board of directors fired Bob Chapek and brought Iger back as CEO. He signed a contract to stay on as CEO for two years. He and the board say they are committed to finding a replacement CEO. The new CEO could come from within the company or could be someone like Tom Staggs or Kevin Mayer, who were previously passed over for the position and left Disney. Iger’s contract could also be extended if a suitable CEO isn’t found.

Time named Iger one of the 100 most influential people in their “Innovator” category earlier this year.

In his Time interview, Iger said of his return, “I was brought back for a reason. The company had gone through a very difficult period, exacerbated by a global pandemic. And more than anything, the company needed stability, needed to establish a set of priorities and focus on them. The only way you end up getting to success is by deciding what the opportunities are, and then organizing your people and your company to go after them.”

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Author

  • Shannen Michaelsen

    Shannen has been a Disney Parks fan and lover of dogs since childhood, despite Pluto's attempt to eat Shannen's Minnie Mouse doll the first time they met. They've made up now. You can email Shannen at shannen@wdwnt.com.