Iger will remain executive chairman of Disney through the end of 2021 but has stepped down from his position as CEO. Succeeding him will be Bob Chapek, who most recently served as chairman of Disney parks, experiences and products. He has been planning his succession for a while but this announcement comes as a shock to most who follow Disney’s corporate structure. Just hours after he stepped down Disney’s stock dropped 2.5 percent.

Why is he leaving?

It could be as simple as retirement, which is what we think is happening. He has been planning his succession but generally the news of stepping down comes with a timeframe and not usually “effective immediately.”

“With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Iger said in a statement.

Why it matters

Iger was instrumental in many of the big steps that Disney has taken these past years. He played a key role in the acquisition of FOX and launched the Disney + platform. He was also responsible for attaining Lucasfilms and Marvel Entertainment.

Not only did he oversee all of that he also opened Shanghai Disney. Iger essentially cleaned up what Eisner had done with the company. Eisner who was not essentially bad made a lot of mistakes after his predecessor Mills passed away. He had a hard time balancing the dynamic that Disney had in place and made a few bad decisions along the way. One of them being playing hardball with Pixar when it came time to renegotiate, and another spreading himself and Disney’s resources too thin when it came to creating more parks and attractions.

Iger was a big part of why Disney has become such a massive success and was able to create a balance that can hopefully be carried on by Chapek.

This story is developing.

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