In a unanimous vote among Disney’s board of directors Tuesday, the company leadership has opted to extend CEO Bob Chapek’s contract for three years, beginning July 1, 2022 until 2025. His deal was set to expire in February 2023.
“Disney was dealt a tough hand by the pandemic, yet with Bob at the helm, our businesses – from parks to streaming – not only weathered the storm, but emerged in a position of strength,” Susan Arnold, chairman of the board, said in a statement Tuesday. “In this important time of growth and transformation, the Board is committed to keeping Disney on the successful path it is on today, and Bob’s leadership is key to achieving that goal. Bob is the right leader at the right time for the Walt Disney Company, and the Board has full confidence in him and his leadership team.”
“Leading this great company is the honor of a lifetime, and I am grateful to the Board for their support,” Chapek said in a statement. “I started at Disney almost 30 years ago, and today have the privilege of leading one of the world’s greatest, most dynamic companies, bringing joy to millions around the world. I am thrilled to work alongside the incredible storytellers, employees and cast members who make magic every day.”
The board’s decision comes at a time when Chapek’s future with the company was anything but certain as Disney’s stock has plunged 39% in 2022 alone. The embattled CEO has endured a succession of PR blunders dating back to Disney’s public spat with Scarlett Johansson last summer over compensation tied to Marvel’s “Black Window,” which opened day-and-date in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access for a $30 fee. This was followed by Chapek’s uneven handling of Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education Bill.” Chapek initially aimed to avoid taking a public stance on the controversial bill, dubbed “Don’t Say Gay,” which elicited a backlash from staffers. When Disney did come out against the bill, it drew the ire of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who then moved to abolish Disney’s self-governing district in Orlando.
Earlier this month, Chapek made the surprising move to fire Disney’s TV chief Peter Rice in a decision that was widely seen as an attempt to eliminate competition for the CEO position.
Chapek, 63, succeeded the wildly successful Bob Iger in early 2020, only for his coronation to be interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic that largely shuttered Disney’s core businesses. As the company pivoted to emphasize streaming growth while theme parks and movie theaters remained closed, Disney+ rapidly outpaced user projections and stands at 138 million global subscribers today. Pandemic restrictions have since eased, and Disney’s theme parks and hotels have reopened to significant demand while the movie studio has delivered big box office hits such as “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”
Prior to becoming CEO, Chapek oversaw Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. He also ran Disney Consumer Products and served as president of distribution for The Walt Disney Studios, and president of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.