Disney CEO Bob Iger called succession top priority as he moves to turn the company around and, with the board of directors, name a new chief executive before the end of his two-year contract.
His previous pick, Bob Chapek, was pushed out abruptly in November after a rocky reign, and the former longtime chief executive returned for an encore.
“Succession is pretty much at the top of the list,” Iger told a Morgan Stanley investor conference.. But, “It’s between me and the board.”
New board chairman Mark Parker heads the succession committee, which Iger noted met Wednesday. “We all know that not only is it an important decision but that we don’t have endless amount of time to make it, and we are mindful of that,” he said. “Conversations have been great. I am confident that we will identify the right successor at the right time.”
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Discussing his return to Disney, he said, “It was clear that the company needed to be stabilized. It was clear that reorganization was necessary, and it was also clear that we had to come to grips with our cost structure for a variety of reasons – whether they were competitive, disruptive, or global economic.”
He added: “And we have done all of that already. We have stabilized, we have reorganized, we have truly aggressive cost-cutting efforts. Now it’s about getting our content pipeline right, making sure that we are making the right decisions, and the right number of decisions in terms of how much we’re making. And really being mindful [it’s] a world that is not getting less competitive, and that tech is only going to disrupt more.
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“It requires a lot of execution … and I have a lot of confidence in our ability to do that,” Iger said.
Disney last month announced 7,000 job cuts and said it will slash costs by $5.5 billion, including $3 billion in content expense. Layoffs were across the board but fell heavy at the now defunct DMED (Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution) division, set up up by Chapek and dismantled by Iger. A broad restructuring included breaking out ESPN into a its own division.
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