Walt Disney Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Iger’s contract has been extended two years through June 2018, the Burbank-based company said Thursday.
The executive, who has been CEO of the world’s largest entertainment company since 2005, previously had been set to vacate his posts at the end of June 2016.
In a statement, the independent lead director of Disney’s board, Orin Smith, said Iger, 63, is “the architect” of the company’s current success.
“Under his tenure, Disney has reached unprecedented creative and financial heights, driving the stock price to record levels and creating extraordinary value for shareholders,” Smith said.
For months, industry observers have speculated on who would replace Iger, who has headed Disney during a period of rapid expansion. Iger orchestrated Disney’s multibillion-dollar acquisitions of Pixar Animation Studios in 2006, Marvel Entertainment in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012.
Disney executives Jay Rasulo, the company’s chief financial officer, and Thomas Staggs, who runs the theme park division, have long been viewed as potential successors to Iger.
Two of Iger’s highest-profile projects are scheduled to bow next year. The Shanghai Disney Resort, a nearly $4-billion theme park project that Iger has been working on for more than a decade, is slated to open by the end of 2015. In December of that year, the first “Star Wars” film made by Disney will be released.
Iger will continue to be paid the same annual compensation he receives under his existing contract.
For the fiscal year 2013, Iger’s base salary was $2.5 million. His total compensation for the year that ended Sept. 28, 2013, was $34.3 million.
Shares of Disney were down 85 cents in midday trading to $86.64.
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