An SEC filing Friday disclosing the move identified the date of the resignation as September 10, which happened to also be the day Apple held its product event and disclosed news about streaming service Apple TV+. Disney will roll out its highly anticipated service, Disney+, on November 12, about two weeks after Apple’s goes live. WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal have their own major initiatives planned for the spring of 2020 as the effort to close the gap with Netflix intensifies.
“I have the utmost respect for Tim Cook, his team at Apple and for my fellow board members,” Iger said in a statement. “Apple is one of the world’s most admired companies, known for the quality and integrity of its products and its people, and I am forever grateful to have served as a member of the company’s board.”
In an earlier proxy statement, Apple had assured investors it would maintain “arm’s-length” dealings with Disney even with Iger on its board.
As his board exit became official, Apple said in a statement that the company will “greatly miss his contributions as a board member.” Nevertheless, it added, “we respect his decision, and we have every expectation that our relationship with both Bob and Disney will continue far into the future.”
Iger joined the Apple board in 2011, at a time when the two companies had a different relationship. As streaming video first became a reality, Disney had been in the vanguard of putting its movies and TV shows on Apple’s iTunes platform. In the 2000s, as iTunes expanded and the iPhone vaulted the tech giant to a new echelon, late Apple CEO Steve Jobs accumulated a significant stake in Disney. The 2016 acquisition of Jobs’ Pixar in 2006 also contributed to the relationship. In 2017, Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, cut her stake in half, to 4%.
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