Walt Disney executive chairman Bob Iger promised the company will always prioritize “quality not volume” as he introduced executives and content that he’s been overseeing as a kind of creative content czar around the world since he left the CEO post earlier this year.
“When I stepped down,” he said, his purview became “content creation across all segments and territories with a focus on leveraging our brands.” Disney’s emphasis will always be on quality, which “always holds its value across the board.” The only difference between the company’s shorter form TV content and theatrical content he said, is “length.”
Iger took a brief and well deserved trip down memory lane noting his company-building acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox, which each brought an array of content. “Fast forward and in just a year we have established ourselves as one of the leaders of the direct to consumer space,” he said.
Yes, Disney’s hotly anticipated investor meeting marathon featured both Bobs — current CEO Bob Chapek who opened and will close the event, and former chief executive Iger, introducing a sizzle reel and the executives behind it.
Hollywood and Wall Street had wondered if Iger would appear. The media giant rocked the entertainment industry and Wall Street back in February when it announced he was stepping down as CEO after 15 years. He became executive chairman to direct the company’s creative endeavors through the term of his contract at the end of 2021 and continues to lead the board. The overlap was meant in part to give Chapek, formerly head of parks and consumer products, time to gear up, especially as he found himself less than a month later running a giant company in the midst of a global pandemic.
In April, Iger told the New York Times that he’d had no choice but to abandon his plan to pull back. “A crisis of this magnitude, and its impact on Disney, would necessarily result in my actively helping Bob [Chapek] and the company contend with it, particularly since I ran the company for 15 years!” he said in an email.
The next month, Iger and Hamilton creator and original star Lin-Manuel Miranda revealed that the movie version of the smash hit musical was to premiere on Disney+ July 4, where it was also a smash hit. Other than that, he’s kept a relatively low public profile.
Iger owned the last investor meeting in April of 2019, shortly after the purchase of 21th Century Fox closed and ahead of the launch of Disney+. The event was packed and live at the Burbank lot. The virtual event is a rat-a-tat of news on streaming deals, news, sports, content, with Disney+, newly hitting 86.8 million subscribers, the centerpiece.
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