Disney’s Successor Search Could Force CEO Bob Iger to Stick Around
Bob Iger’s extended retirement tour might be extended yet again.
The Walt Disney chairman and CEO’s oft-delayed retirement could be pushed back even further than the most recent target date of June 2018, with the entertainment giant considering another contract extension as the search continues for Iger’s eventual replacement, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources.
Disney’s board has already twice convinced Iger—who took the reins of the company in 2005—to extend his contract. The most recent extension, which was announced in June 2014, pushed back his retirement date to summer of next year.
But, last year’s departure of Chief Operating Officer Tom Staggs, who had been considered to be Iger’s most obvious successor, raised the possibility that the ongoing search for the CEO’s heir apparent could extend Iger’s tenure even further. Disney’s board has not commented publicly on the process of naming Iger’s eventual replacement since Staggs’ surprise resignation last April. And, while Iger has more than 16 months remaining on his current contract, the Journal notes that an extension may be necessary in order to give the Disney CEO time to train his successor.
Fortune reached out to a Disney spokesman for comment and we will update this article with any response.
Disney’s directors are expected to meet in early March during the company’s annual shareholder meeting, at which point they could reach a decision on another possible extension for Iger, who received $43.9 million in compensation in 2016.
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Staggs’ departure last year kicked off rampant speculation as to who could be tabbed as the next successor to Iger’s throne at Disney. Fortune recently predicted that Facebook (FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg, who already sits on Disney’s board, could be a pick to replace Iger.
Iger’s run atop Disney (DIS) has been extremely successful for the “Mouse House,” which has seen its stock price improve by nearly 300% since Iger took over as CEO from Michael Eisner in 2005. Under Iger, Disney has expanded its entertainment portfolio with a series of successful acquisitions, including Pixar, Marvel Entertainment, and Lucasfilm. Each of those silos contributed blockbuster films in 2016—a year that saw Disney set a new Hollywood record for yearly global box office gross, with more than $7 billion in global ticket sales. Iger also oversaw efforts to launch Shanghai Disneyland, the $5.5 billion theme park and resort that opened in China last year.