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Walt Disney extends CEO Chapek’s contract 3 more years

A man in a suit and tie in front of a picture of an animated town
Disney CEO Bob Chapek got overwhelming backing from the company’s board, which extended his contract for three years.
(Joshua Sudock/Disney General Entertainment Con)

Walt Disney’s board of directors unanimously voted to give Chief Executive Bob Chapek three more years atop the company, citing strong leadership during the pandemic.

Despite a wave of recent controversies including a battle over Florida’s Parental Rights in Education legislation and the recent firing of respected veteran TV executive Peter Rice, Chapek, 61, still has the overwhelming support of the board, according to a statement Tuesday.

Disney’s board cited Chapek’s navigation of the company during the heath crisis, business results and a successful transformation strategy as reasons for extending his contract three more years.

“Disney was dealt a tough hand by the pandemic, yet with Bob at the helm, our businesses — from parks to streaming — not only weathered the storm, but emerged in a position of strength,” Susan Arnold, chair of the board, said in the statement. “In this important time of growth and transformation, the Board is committed to keeping Disney on the successful path it is on today, and Bob’s leadership is key to achieving that goal.”

Chapek’s leadership has come under scrutiny after a series of missteps, including a legal battle with star Scarlett Johansson and more recently a public spat with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, which prompted the governor to target laws that favor Disney’s business in the state. Disney’s shares have underperformed the S&P 500 as analysts have grown skeptical that its streaming service can hit Chapek’s goal of 230 million to 260 million subscribers by 2024.

Nonetheless, Disney’s streaming service has thrived despite intense competition, growing to 138 million subscribers in less than three years, alongside strong attendance at its parks and to its movies.

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“Leading this great company is the honor of a lifetime, and I am grateful to the Board for their support,” Chapek said in a statement. “I started at Disney almost 30 years ago, and today have the privilege of leading one of the world’s greatest, most dynamic companies, bringing joy to millions around the world. I am thrilled to work alongside the incredible storytellers, employees, and Cast Members who make magic every day.”

The 30-year Disney veteran and former Disney Parks chairman became the seventh CEO in Disney’s history just before the pandemic shut down its parks and production for TV and movies worldwide.


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