corporate drama

The Disney Board Has a New Chairman (and New Drama)

Photo: GC Images

The Walt Disney Company continues building material for DisneyWar Pt. 2. Nike executive Mark Parker has been named chairman of the board, replacing longtime board member Susan Arnold, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It was Arnold who called Bob Iger back in to replace Bob Chapek as CEO. THR says that it was Parker who convinced Arnold to plead with Iger to return. Arnold is leaving the board in a move the company says is in line with its 15-year board term limit. “Mark Parker’s vision, incredible depth of experience, and wise counsel have been invaluable to Disney, and I look forward to continuing working with him in his new role, along with our other directors, as we chart the future course for this amazing company,” Iger said in a statement. “On behalf of my fellow board members and the entire Disney management team, I also want to thank Susan for her superb leadership as chairman and for her tireless work over the past 15 years as an exemplary steward of the Disney brand.” Parker will also chair a “succession planning” committee to make sure Iger actually finds someone to replace him after two years.

Meanwhile, “activist investor” Nelson Peltz is trying to get on the board in order to get Disney+ under control. Peltz’s Trian Partners fund claims that Disney “failed to effectively communicate the financial rationale behind the strategic pivot” to streaming. In November, Disney+ had 164.2 million subscribers around the world, but still was perceived to be struggling.

As the Iger 2.0 era continues, Bob-1 continues to walk back some of the perceived mistakes of Bob-2, especially in the parks. The big, ugly barges will be leaving Epcot’s World Showcase Lagoon soon. Park-hopping will be easier at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. And the Tron roller coaster finally has an opening date after years of construction. In The Imagineering Story, Iger spoke about negative park experiences being a “withdrawal” on the Disney brand. With these changes, he looks to be making some deposits in the brand bank.

The Disney Board Has a New Chairman (and New Drama)