“Bob Chapek has demonstrated remarkable leadership in the face of unprecedented challenges that were unimaginable when he became CEO just seven weeks ago, and we’ve watched him navigate this very complex situation with decisiveness and compassion. We are pleased to add Bob to the Board, as we stated we would when he was named CEO,” said Susan Arnold, independent Lead Director of the Disney Board, and Robert Iger, former CEO and now executive chairman and chairman of the board.
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Chapek’s appointment came as a surprise to Hollywood and Wall Street and came just as the company, the industry and the global economy were pounded by the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis has hit Disney hard, shuttering its theme parks and the live sports that are the beating heart of ESPN, among other woes. Iger, whose contract runs through the end of 2021, was going to ensure a smooth transition as he directed the company’s creative endeavors but it proved difficult to step back given the timing.
Chapek has been at Disney since 1993, most recently as chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. He oversaw the opening of Disney’s theme park and resort in mainland China, Shanghai Disney Resort, and upgrades across Disney’s six resorts in the U.S., Europe and Asia – including the creation of the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. From 2011 to 2015, he was president of the former Disney Consumer Products and has served as president of distribution for Walt Disney Studios and of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, where he spearheaded the successful “vault” strategy for the company’s iconic films.
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