Christine McCarthy’s Disney Departure Could Mean Bob Iger Staying on as CEO Longer Than Expected

Shannen Ace

Bob Iger below Disney Company sign

Christine McCarthy’s Disney Departure Could Mean Bob Iger Staying on as CEO Longer Than Expected

Shannen Ace

Bob Iger below Disney Company sign

Christine McCarthy’s Disney Departure Could Mean Bob Iger Staying on as CEO Longer Than Expected

The departure of The Walt Disney Company CFO Christine McCarthy could mean Bob Iger will stay on as CEO for longer than originally announced.

Analyst Alan Gould of the investment firm Loop Capital said he believes Disney’s Board of Directors could ask Iger to stay as CEO after his contract expires next year.

“The Board is now in a position where it will be performing both CFO and CEO searches almost simultaneously,” Gould wrote in an investor note (via Seeking Alpha). He pointed out that The Walt Disney Company is in “one of the most disruptive periods” of its history, and of the industry at large.

Gould continued, “Given this unexpected change, we speculate whether the Board might ask Mr. Iger to remain CEO for an additional year.”

When Iger returned in late 2022, he signed a contract for only two years with the intention of finding a replacement by then.

Christine McCarthy’s Departure

Christine McCarthy
REUTERS/Mike Blake

Christine McCarthy will be stepping down and taking a family medical leave of absence after June 30. She will stay on as a Strategic Advisor. Effective July 1, Kevin Lansberry, EVP and CFO of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, will serve as the Interim CFO “while a thorough search of internal and external candidates is conducted for a permanent replacement.”

“Christine McCarthy is one of the most admired financial executives in America, and her impact on The Walt Disney Company during 23 years of dedicated service cannot be overstated,” CEO Bob Iger said. “She is stepping down from her CFO role as she takes family medical leave, but has graciously offered to move into an advisory position to assist her successor in assuming the duties she has so expertly handled these many years.”

“I am immensely grateful for the opportunity Bob provided me to serve as CFO of this iconic company and am proud of the work my talented team has done to position Disney to capitalize on the business possibilities that lie ahead,” McCarthy said. “Although I am leaving the CFO role, I look forward to helping with the transition and will always be rooting for the success of my extended Disney family, who have shown time and again that determination, teamwork and the pursuit of excellence are an unstoppable combination.”

McCarthy has been with The Walt Disney Company since 2000. In 2015, she was appointed to the CFO position. Her contract was previously set to expire in December 2022 but it was renewed through 2024.

Bob Iger & Disney

Bob Iger

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.

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