About five years after Iger leaves, it will come clear that Disney is in a massive slump. "Star Wars" will have thoroughly run its course. The fad for super hero films will be passe. Pixar will still be popular, but its films will be budgeted in the $300 million range, and none will achieve the kind of lasting success of "Toy Story" or "Cars." There will be a major problem, because DISNEY will no longer know how to actually create anything. It will take a new CEO several years to figure out the solution, which will come from divesting formerly profitable subsidiaries and spinning off ABC Inc. into a separate, publicly held company (much as Fox just has done). "Disney" will get back to the core of its being, much as it had to do in the late 1980s. But this will take a number of years and be remarkably expensive. The "genius" of Bob Iger will be regarded as having been short-term in scope.
In the meantime, I doubt the "favorites" of Staggs or Rasulo will come to pass as Iger's successor. I'd be looking more toward either Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy or Marvel's Kevin Feige. In fact, ONLY Feige has the experience developing films, a licensing program, successful video games, plus managing the agreements with theme parks (primarily Universal), as well as guiding the merger with Disney in the first place. Personally, my money has long been on Kevin Feige as the "upset."
Who should replace Iger in 2015? Why not Bob Iger?
The Disney chief’s contract originally called for him to give up the CEO title on April 1, 2015 but remain chairman until the end of June 2016. Under the new amendment, he will keep both jobs until the end. As a result of the change, he’ll continue to receive in the last year of his agreement the salary and target incentive compensation he receives as CEO and chairman. (He made $40.2M in compensation last year.) “Now, Disney will continue to have the full benefit of Mr. Iger’s leadership as CEO and chairman for the duration of his tenure,” the board’s Independent Lead Director Orin Smith says. “The board remains focused on effective succession planning, and will continue to develop a sound and appropriate process for ensuring a smooth management transition.”
. . . I read an interesting article this morning suggesting that Iger may stay CEO slightly longer to bathe in the success of Shanghai Disneyland and Star Wars Episode VII. Even more intriguing is the fact that the article went on to name other media executives whose contracts expire around the same time as Igers. And who is on that list? Steve Burke! Whilst this could just be a routine contract expiry date, it is interesting that he may be open to lead the worlds largest media company - a position much greater than being in charge of media networks at Comcast.
Thanks, Antem & RTDJ! I'd link an article from this morning's L.A. Times, but it's blocked from non-subscribers.
Iger's contract as CEO has been extended through June of 2016. The Times noted that this "gives itself more time to choose a successor," which might be a little annoying for Thomas Staggs. Iger was compensated 40.2 million last year, or about that of 1,000 Disneyland employees. (Given that the wealthiest 400 Americans have more money than the bottom half of the country--about 160 million potential CMs--Iger is tragically underpaid.) Iger said in a statement, "I sincerely appreciate this vote of confidence by the board of directors." Iger is chairman of this board. He received Everestian piles of money even in years when the stock was flat and WDW's malfunctioning Yeti became that resort's true mascot.
Kudos to Variety for bringing up Steve Burke who, unlike Staggs and Rasulo, would be an exciting choice to replace Iger.
. . . Iger may want Staggs to be seen as not ready to run a company that makes a lot of its money from rides, sports and film; and so Iger may be kept around for 2-5 years beyond 2015, making 30 million or so a year. . .