Bob Chapek Skipped Disney Management Meetings to Pet a Hippopotamus, All in Efforts to Seem More Human

Shannen Ace

Bob Chapek and hippos

Bob Chapek Skipped Disney Management Meetings to Pet a Hippopotamus, All in Efforts to Seem More Human

Among the sometimes bizarre anecdotes shared by CNBC in their report about Bob Chapek’s time as CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and Bob Iger’s subsequent return, is a story about Chapek’s attempts to “humanize” himself by petting a hippo.

Bob Chapek & the Hippopotamus

Bob Chapek Side Glance

CNBC’s sources recounted the 2022 Disney management retreat just a few weeks before Chapek was fired and Iger returned as CEO. Disney’s General counsel, Horacio Gutierrez, forced several executives into meetings for most of the weekend, meaning they missed some of the scheduled activities. These execs included CFO Christine McCarthy, Disney Media & Entertainment Chairman Kareem Daniel, Chief Communications Officer Kristina Schake, direct-to-consumer CFO Justin Warbrooke, head of investor relations Alexia Quadrani, and DMED’s EVP of finance Bryan Castellani.

The activities they missed included interacting with animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and getting to skip the line for new theme park attractions.

Bob Chapek
Source: Deadline

Chapek only attended a few minutes of the first strategy session and spent the rest of the time trying to “showcase his personable side to employees.” CNBC calls out Chapek’s beard, which he had recently grown and colleagues told him to keep because it “humanized” him.

baby hippo

Executives stuck in the conference room found out Chapek was petting a hippopotamus instead of attending the meetings with them and “their collective frustration with him grew,” CNBC’s sources state.

Disney suddenly announced in November 2022 that Chapek had been fired and Iger was returning as CEO, less than a year after his retirement as Chairman. He had stepped down as CEO in 2020.

Bob Iger Masterclass 3 1200x669 1

Though Iger originally returned with a two-year contract, it was extended into 2026. Disney has reportedly contacted former executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs as possible CEO replacements. Iger passed over both previously, and the future of Disney remains unclear.

Both Iger and McCarthy (who stepped down earlier this summer) declined to comment for CNBC’s report, though Chapek’s spokesperson issued the following statement:

Bob is proud of the work he did in the course of his 30-year career at Disney, particularly during his nearly three-year run as CEO, steering the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, and setting the course for business transformation as he and his team took the disruptive yet necessary steps for business revitalization and long-term growth.

For the latest Disney Parks news and info, follow WDW News Today on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

2 thoughts on “Bob Chapek Skipped Disney Management Meetings to Pet a Hippopotamus, All in Efforts to Seem More Human”

Comments are closed.