A fascinating new article by Brooks Barnes of the New York Times sheds light on what the future of the Walt Disney Company may be after the corporate shakeup pf Bob Iger returning to replace Bob Chapek as CEO.
According to Barnes, Disney executives Dana Walden or Josh D’Amaro may start being prepared to be the successor to Iger:
There are senior executives at Disney who could be groomed into chief executive material, including Dana Walden, Disney’s television chief, and Josh D’Amaro, Disney’s theme park chairman. But neither is quite ready, a person close to the board said.
However, the lack of time to properly teach these executives the other sectors of the company may very well mean that an outside hire could be the next CEO. Interestingly enough, two former Disney executives are mentioned just a few paragraphs later.
The article also states that the board of directors reached out to Tom Staggs and Kevin Mayer before renewing Bob Chapek’s contract a few months back:
Two previous candidates to succeed Mr. Iger, Thomas O. Staggs and Kevin Mayer, left Disney and are now running a media start-up. A person close to Disney’s board had reached out to them this year when Mr. Chapek’s contract renewal was under consideration. According to two people familiar with the matter, this person posed a hypothetical question: Would one or both be interested in returning to run Disney? Any deal to bring them back into the Disney fold would have required the company to acquire their start-up, Candle Media, a multibillion-dollar firm that owns Hello Sunshine, the media company founded by Reese Witherspoon, according to the people.
Mr. Staggs and Mr. Mayer demurred, the people said, adding that any deal would have required Mr. Chapek’s approval, which he was unlikely to give.
Will Iger bring back these well-respected executives or try to anoint the next CEO of the Walt Disney Company from within? Only time will tell.